Yesterday, the EPA ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, which gives them power over our entire economy.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said yesterday that her ruling that greenhouses gases are dangerous pollutants would “cement 2009′s place in history” as the moment when the U.S. began “seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform.” She’s right that this is an historic decision, though not to her or the White House’s credit, and “seizing” is the right term. President Obama isn’t about to let a trifle like democratic consent impede his climate agenda.
With cap and trade blown apart in the Senate, the White House has chosen to impose taxes and regulation across the entire economy under clean-air laws that were written decades ago and were never meant to apply to carbon. With this doomsday machine activated, Mr. Obama hopes to accomplish what persuasion and debate among his own party manifestly cannot.
This reckless “endangerment finding” is a political ultimatum: The many Democrats wary of levelling huge new costs on their constituents must surrender, or else the EPA’s carbon police will inflict even worse consequences.
The gambit is also meant to coerce businesses, on the theory that they’ll beg for cap and trade once the command-and-control regulatory pain grows too acute—not to mention the extra bribes in the form of valuable carbon permits that Democrats, since you ask, are happy to dispense. Ms. Jackson appealed to “the science” and waved off any political implications, yet the formal finding was not coincidentally announced at the start of the U.N.’s Copenhagen climate conference (see above).
Still think you are free? Still think Obama isn’t a tyrant? The people and their representatives will either cave to his demands, or he will find ways to force compliance. This is nothing but a gun to the head of all of congress.
This ruling has been inevitable since at least April and we warned about it during Mr. Obama’s campaign, but its cynicism and willfulness still astonish. The political threat is so potent precisely because invoking a faulty interpretation of the 1970 Clean Air Act will expose hundreds of thousands of “major” sources of emissions that produce more than 250 tons of an air pollutant in a year to the EPA’s costly and onerous review process. This threshold might be reasonable for traditional “dirty” pollutants (such as NOX) but it makes no sense for ubiquitous carbon, which is the byproduct of almost all types of economic production.
The White House knows this, which is why earlier this fall Ms. Jackson announced a “tailoring rule” that limits this regulation to sources that emit more than 25,000 or more tons a year like coal-fired power plants and heavy manufacturing. Ms. Jackson claims this unilateral rewrite of a statute is a concession, but its real purpose is to dodge a political backlash while still preserving the EPA’s ability to threaten business and recalcitrant Democrats.
In order to avoid a huge backlash, they just willy nilly change the law? Go figure.
For now, this decision moves into the courts, and years if not decades of litigation. Yet the decision really is historic: The White House has opened a Pandora’s box that will be difficult to close, that is breathtakingly undemocratic, and that the country, if not liberal politicians, will come to regret.
If the media had any credibility, they’d be outraged about this. The supposed protectors of our freedom are too busy talking about the political calculations instead of explaining how the executive branch is oppressive and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson is probably rolling in his grave.
We really only have one shot to avoid all of Obama’s edicts. Next year, we need to kick as many Democrats out of office as possible. While I don’t trust the Republicans with all branches right now, I do trust them with the legislative branch. They need a veto proof majority to reign in this oppressive government. Then we need to hold their feet to the fire to rewrite the Clean Air Act, prevent government health care, prevent cap n trade, and to start repealing back all laws that take away our freedoms. We cannot have our freedoms depending on limp wristed Democrats. Obama stops by Congress to bang some Democratic heads, and the next thing you know, we have lost more liberty.