Filed under: Bureaucracy, Economics, Economy, Energy, Free Markets, Freedom, Law, Politics, Regulation | Tags: President Barack Obama, The Environmental Protection Agency, The Supreme Court
On Tuesday the Supreme Court issued a stay that blocked the federal government from implementing a series of far-reaching environmental regulations that essentially crippled the entire coal industry. The rules were issued by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of President Obama’s attempt to force America’s energy sector to reduce their carbon emissions to conform to the administration’s demands.
Once again acting on his “presidential authority,” the president was making laws that would close hundreds of coal-fired power plants, because the president believes that CO2 is a pollutant (it is not) and that CO2 is the cause of global warming (it is not). Mr. Obama was trying to set an example for other countries to do the same, to comply with the unenforceable agreement that came out of the Paris Climate Talks—COP21.
Because of a 5-4 majority on the court, nothing will be done to implement those changes until an appeals court can formally rule on a challenge brought by 27 states, and corporate and industry groups against the EPA. What the Supreme Court has done is to restore some sense of accountability to an agency that has attempted to become a legislative body without any authority to do so.
The appellate courts will now have to give the 27 states the opportunity to make their case. The Supreme Court is not just saving the jobs of coal miners and the economy in several states, but calls attention to the rule of law at a time when the president of the United States has come to believe that he doesn’t have to bother with the consent of Congress. He just rewrites the law and dares the critics to stop him.
That stay will remain in effect through the end of Mr. Obama’s presidency, until the Supreme Court has a chance to hear the case—in 2017 at the earliest. The stay sends the strongest possible signal that the court is prepared to strike down the Clean Power Plan on the merits, assuming the next president doesn’t revoke it.
Not since the court blocked President Harry Truman’s seizure of the steel industry has it so severely rebuked a president’s abuse of power. …
In a ruling two years ago the court held that the EPA couldn’t conjure up authority to make “decisions of vast economic and political significance” absent a clear statement from Congress. Thus, the EPA may have the authority to require power plants to operate more efficiently and to install reasonable emissions-reduction technologies. But nothing authorizes the agency to pick winners (solar, wind) and losers (coal) and order generation to be shifted from one to the other, disrupting billion-dollar industries in the process.
The EPA has been rebuked by the courts repeatedly. In January the House joined the Senate in trying to stop another of Obama’s “power grabs” — the EPA’s attempt to seize control of virtually all waterways across the country. The federal government has used the EPA as its proxy and the Clean Water Act to enact its ideas about controlling privately owned land through the regulation of waterways. This year they extended, without congressional input, their authority through the 1972 Clean Water Act.
The Obama administration excused this attempted appropriation as nothing more than an effort to save the nation’s streams, headwaters, creeks and wetlands from “pollution and degradation.” In reality, the EPA simply wanted to expand its command over such near-waterless features as dry creeks, potholes and puddles . Under this regime, private individuals or businesses would need government permission to do anything on their property that is even remotely related to water — such as digging a drainage ditch — giving Washington sweeping powers over private lands.
A federal judge told the EPA last August that they had gone too far, but they just shrugged and said they would enforce the rule in the 37 states that were not part of the lawsuit. “Administrative Law” is one of those innocuous phrases in which the Left excels, like the substitution of “extremist” for “terrorist.” But you must pay attention to the real meaning — which is the substitution of agency regulation and presidential orders or directions or memos for the lawful actions of Congress. As Jonathan Turley, professor of Law at George Washington University said:
“What the president is doing is not one of the dangers
the Framers were concerned about; it is the danger
the Framers were concerned about.”
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Environment, Junk Science, Law, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Federal Judge Royce Lamberth, FOIA Requests, The Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth today warned the EPA not to discriminate against conservative groups in how it responds to open records requests. He said the agency may have lied to the court and showed “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the law.
He said he could not prove that officials intentionally destroyed documents, but he described as an “absurdity” the way the EPA handled a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Landmark Legal Foundation and the court case stemming from it—including late last week admitting that it misled the court about how it went about “searching for documents.”
In a scorching 25-page opinion, the judge accused the agency of insulting him by first claiming it had conducted a full search for records, then years later retracted that claim in a footnote to another document without giving any explanation for how it erred.
“The recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency,” the judge said. “This court would implore the executive branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests — regardless of the political affiliation of the requester — are treated with equal respect and conscientiousness.”
This particular ruling can also be seen as a rebuke to President Obama who vowed to run the “most transparent administration in history” but has received constant challenges over how that vow has been carried out. Judge Lamberth made a point of the EPA delay of follow through on Landmark’s request until after the 2012 elections, and said explanations by EPA officials for why they failed to live up to the law “defied reason.”
Mark Levin, Landmark’s president, said it is up to the president to decide how to respond, but people should be fired. Nena Shaw and Eric Wachter, Judge Lamberth said, either lied to the court or showed utter indifference to the law.
Is it proper to send roses to a federal court? Probably not, but this arrogant agency certainly deserves a legal slap-down.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Energy, Global Warming, Junk Science, National Security, Science/Technology, The United States | Tags: A Cooling World?, Looming Power Shortages, The Environmental Protection Agency
Los Angeles is sweltering under 100º+ temperatures, but in other parts of the country they are having a very early winter. Temperatures are forecast to dip into the 50°s from Boston and New York City to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Some areas in northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northwestern New England will see temperatures in the 30ºs. An inch of snow at Rapid City on the 12th was the earliest recorded snowfall since 1888.
There has been no global warming for 17 years and nine months.
Obama administration officials intend to sign a “politically binding” agreement to drastically reduce U.S, greenhouse gas emission at the U.N. climate change conference in Paris next year and have a legal strategy to turn any non-binding accord into federal law. Chris Horner, senior fellow and attorney at CEI says activists are planning to use the sue-and-settle strategy they have used in the past to impose drastic energy restrictions on all Americans. But India, China and Germany have already said they won’t be attending the conference. The major aim of the less developed countries is to force the Western developed countries to pay for the misery inflicted on the poorer world.
Antarctic sea ice extent, September 13, 2014—a new all-time record : 1,121,000 square km., breaking the past record by 48,000 sq. km.
So what’s going on here? Author Greg Easterbrook calls it “collapse anxiety.” He defines it as “a widespread feeling that the prosperity of the United States and the European Union cannot really be enjoyed because the Western lifestyle may crash owing to economic breakdown, environmental damage, resource exhaustion, …or some other imposed calamity.
These are the descendants of English economist Thomas Malthus who forecast a dire future in “An Essay on the Principle of Population” which was published in 1798. He believed the increasing global population would result in starvation for many people as the world would not be able to feed itself. Malthusians are still with us in the persons of Paul Ehrlich and “The Population Bomb,” and Obama’s science advisor John Holdren, who advocate for radical approaches to forestalling catastrophe, including what they call “de-growth.”Nuclear energy is bad, Genetically modified foods are bad. Coal is awful. Oil is bad. Natural gas is bad, and fracking is bad. Renewable energy is good. Organic food is good. Locally grown organic food is better. “¹
The assumption is that we are running out of every essential commodity—food, oil, copper, iron ore. We are sinning against the planet. Directly in the face of the facts —”people are living longer, healthier, freer, more peaceful, lives than in any other time in human history.” Human ingenuity and creativity are triumphing all over the world. The big environmental groups like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council raise hundreds of millions of dollars every year by scaring people about coming disaster.
Climate science was once a quiet corner of university science departments, but the creation of the IPCC and important meetings on climate held at all the world’s nicest resorts meant departmental growth, fame, more students, and lots and lots of grants. Governments invested mightily in protecting their citizens from the rise of the oceans, and helping the planet to heal. Those who have been riding that gravy train are not likely to give it up gracefully.
But there has been no warming whatsoever in 17 years and nine months.
Last winter the Great Lakes froze over. New England has obediently been on a hell-bent drive to rid itself of any form of “dirty” non-renewable energy, and has been closing down coal-fired plants for the last decade. Last winter when the real record temperatures hit, there wasn’t enough natural gas to go around. The EPA is planning to shut down 300 coal-fired power plants—for which there is no replacement. Residential electricity prices in New England are up by 11.8%.
We hear about the horrors of a warming world, but cold is far more dangerous. People die from freezing to death. Some scientists are predicting a new “Little Ice Age,” Nobody, and no computer program, can predict the future. We just don’t know.This looks to be a colder winter, and the president, his science advisor and the EPA are still chasing carbon dioxide, though CO² has continued to increase as warming has failed to increase for nearly 18 years.
¹ Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper by Robert Bryce.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, History, Politics, Regulation | Tags: An Agency Power Grab, Attacking Property Rights, The Environmental Protection Agency
The headline read “EPA pulls back from plan to garnish paychecks.” That particular plan was announced quietly an a Friday right before the 4th of July, the way agencies do when they want no one to notice. But I spotted it and wrote about it on the 8th. This administration has so many agencies and departments overstepping the bounds that it’s hard to pick a worst, but the EPA is right at the top of the list, for sheer crookedness.
The Washington Times reported last Wednesday that:
The Environmental Protection Agency bowed to fierce criticism Wednesday and announced that it had hit the brakes on a fast-tracked plan to collect fines by garnishing paychecks of accused polluters.
I was so pleased that I got up and did a little dance around my computer. But then I read the following paragraph:
The agency, which has come under withering attacks from Republican lawmakers for attempting a “power grab,” said it still intended to pursue the new authority to garnish wages without a court order. But now it will follow a more typical and longer review process.
Opponents of the wage-garnish rule applauded EPA’s decision. But the EPA vowed to press on with its plan to snatch fines directly out of Americans’ paychecks. (emphasis added)
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who had battled the proposed rule said, “It’s about time this abuse-prone agency listened to Congress and backtrack on a rule that was clearly an egregious power grab to garnish private citizen’s wages.” Doesn’t sound like they are listening.
This rule (published as close to secrecy as a federal agency can manage) was issued on July 2 in a notice in the Federal Register as a “direct final rule” that would automatically take effect on September 2 unless the EPA received adverse public comment by August 1.
The only improvement seems to be that since they received comments, they have extended the comment period until September 2. They claim they are required to participate in Treasury’s debt-collection program — the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (one of Bill Clinton’s) to garnish wages.
What or who gives them the authority to levy fines of, in the case of Wyoming welder Andy Johnson for building a pond on his property, $75,000 a day. That’s up from the fine they imposed on the Sacketts for their supposed “wetland” on a standard residential lot overlooking Priest Lake in Idaho, which was $37,500 a day and they said the Sacketts could contest their action legally. The Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for that one, and made sure the Sacketts got their day in court.
It apparently was revealed in a remark by an EPA official back in 2012. He said:
I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff…the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.
Ans so you make examples of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there.
And companies that are smart see that they don’t want to play that game and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.
And, that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples of people. So you go out, you look at an industry, you find people violating the law, you go aggressively after them. And we do have some pretty effective enforcement tools. Compliance can get very high, very, very quickly.
That’s apparently what those enormous fines are supposed to be about— making the accused so terrified that they will comply immediately and sow terror in the heart of anyone else messing with air, water, soil or plants and animals in any way, though they’ve gone after people for picking up arrowheads as well.
The public lands do not, in my opinion, belong to — the government — but to the people, and we allow the government to manage it for us. Property rights are one of the most fundamental bastions of liberty. When a federal agency tramples all over American citizens’ property rights, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Liberalism | Tags: A Rogue Agency, Blocking EPA Regulationi, The Environmental Protection Agency
House Republicans have passed a $30 billion spending bill to fund the Interior Department and the EPA. It is designed to block a whole bunch of looming regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency that clearly exceed the agency’s authority.
Republicans on the Appropriations Committee pushed through the Interior and environment funding bill over the objections of Democrats who said it was full of “veto bait” and handouts to big business. This is the seventh and last of 12 annual appropriations bills. If it is passed by the House, Harry Reid has not yet acted on a single appropriations bill and President Obama would most probably refuse to sign it.
The bill tackles the EPA’s twin draft regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants— a proposal to reduce “carbon pollution”from power plants, and another for future plants offered earlier. It also targets the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule designed to grab authority over every trickle of water that might eventually run into “navigable waters” over which they actually do have authority in the Clean Water Bill.
There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” The carbon dioxide that they chase so aggressively is simply a natural fertilizer for plants. It’s also what you exhale. It is not the cause of global warming and has kept climbing slightly even as there has been no warming for over 17 years. The climate is always changing. It has been far warmer in the past, and far cooler as well. If they shut down every coal-fired plant in the country, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference.
Like so many other agencies of this administration, the EPA has lost documentation of the science behind their grope for more power. The climate is currently cooling. Perhaps you noticed the Great Lakes freezing over this last winter. Some claim we may be entering a new little ice age, but contrary to the IPCC, we can’t predict the future. In any case it seems remarkably stupid to work so aggressively to shut down the power plants that are burning the cheapest fuel, and keeping our energy costs down, while they keep people warm in winter.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) announced that “this bill was designed to protect nature, if not for nature’s sake, then for our sake.” So glad our politicians are so well-informed.
Rep Nita Lowey (D-NY) said the cuts would endanger communities at the behest of big business. Oh, and how does that work?
Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) accused the administration of being “hell-bent” on adding layer after layer of harmful red tape. No other agency has done more to inflict this type of pain than the EPA.”
The EPA has been shot down in the courts over and over for exceeding their authority. This bill will probably go nowhere, but if Republicans can exercise the “power of the purse” to cut off their funding, it would be of great benefit to the people of the United States.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Environment, Health Care, Junk Science, Politics, Regulation | Tags: Rogue Agency-Dubious Benefits, The Environmental Protection Agency, The EPA Strikes Again
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims to have reduced six common air pollutants by 72% since 1970. The EPA claims that with these reductions they have achieved meaningful public-health benefits, from improved respiratory health to increased life expectancy.
Naturally, the agency wants to prolong their usefulness. If they can’t keep officially improving American health and well-being, then we might dispose of the agency. The question now is whether further decreases in air pollution to levels that approach those that occur naturally will result in additional public health benefits?
Is the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone sufficient to protect public health? Ozone is a colorless, odorless gas that is not directly released into the air, but is formed when sunlight reacts with two other pollutants: volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. These come from many natural sources (plants, forest fires) as well as human-caused sources (cars, industrial facilities, power plants).
There is a Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, a panel of scientists and public-health experts charged by Congress with advising the EPA. They met in March to study the agency’s evaluation of the link between ozone and respiratory illnesses such as asthma and other health issues.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was forced to reveal to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that the agency neither possesses, nor can produce all of the scientific data used to justify the rules and regulations they have imposed on Americans under the Clean Air Act. I do not know if Ms. McCarthy informed the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of that problem — that they have no scientific foundation for their assertions about what they are claiming about asthma and other health problems. They no longer have the studies that they once relied on, and those studies have been superseded by more recent studies that refute the data on which the EPA relies.
There was a huge flap about holes in the ozone layer a number of years ago, holes that occur naturally at certain times of the year, and because of that they removed effective asthma inhalers from the marketplace and replaced them with far less effective ones. The government told us never to eat butter. Bad. Now butter is fine again. Eggs—never eat eggs, cholesterol. Now we are reduced to little ads at the bottom of each web page telling us “never eat this one food.” I do not believe the pronouncements of the ‘experts’ in government. I do not believe they are experts nor do they know what they are talking about.
Currently the EPA standard for ozone in the air is 75 parts per billion, the strictest level since the standard was established in 1971. In 2008 the EPA determined, and a federal court agreed, that this standard protects public health. But now the EPA says that 75 ppb is not protective enough and is recommending a change to between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. Meanwhile, the overwhelming body of scientific evidence indicates lowering the current ozone standard will not provide added health benefits beyond those achieved with the current standard.
There have been hundreds of scientific studies on ozone exposure and possible health effects, and the EPA has reviewed most of them. However, the EPA has not evaluated them in systematic fashion, by considering study strengths and limitations in a consistent manner from study to study. This type of analysis is called a “weight-of-evidence” evaluation, and it can help prevent the cherry-picking of studies—which can occur when scientists focus on studies or evaluate data that confirm their position, or when the scientists place less emphasis on studies that do not.
Most studies examining connections between ozone and health effects do not adequately account for smoking or other factors such as diet and exercise that could contribute to diseases attributed to ozone. By not fully considering these other factors, the EPA assumes that ozone causes more health effects than what the science supports.
I’m not at all sure that the EPA has any valid accomplishments. So many of their claims just don’t pan out. Ethanol requirements have brought us vast inflation in the cost of food and other merchandise, and been worse for the environment than the gasoline they replaced. Endangered species turned out to not be endangered, the lightbulbs they outlawed gave much better light, wind and solar are not a replacement for cheap reliable coal-fired power plants that power a creative and entrepreneurial society. And they have no business having a SWAT team.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Energy, Environment, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: Environmental Zealots, The Environmental Protection Agency, Unethical Human Experiments
The Environmental Protection Agency has for years been basing their actions on the need to protect human beings from dangerous air pollutants and fine particulate matter (PM). The findings of the Office of Inspector General’s March 31 report say the EPA has followed all laws and regulations concerning human studies research.
While the IG’s report absolves the agency of breaking rules, it notes that the EPA did in fact expose human test subjects to concentrated airborne particles or diesel exhaust emissions in five studies done in 2012 and 2011. And it didn’t bother to plainly inform the subjects of the dangers the agency emphasizes in the proposals for their actions. When the EPA tells Congress about a proposed action, they can tell you exactly how many kids will die from asthma, and how many old folks will die from heart attacks. That’s how they get their way. What congressman could risk refusing to save dying kids?
The agency has said that fine particulate matter can cause premature death, a risk for older individuals with cardiovascular disease. A 2003 EPA document says even short-term exposure to PM can result in heart attacks and arrhythmias for people with heart disease. Long-term exposure can result in reduced lung function and even death. A 2006 review by the EPA reiterates that short-term PM exposure can cause “mortality and morbidity.”
“Particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should,” former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told Congress on September 22, 2011. “If we could reduce particulate matter to healthy levels it would have the same impact as find ing a cure for cancer in our county.”
So why has the EPA been subjecting unknowing human guinea pigs to high levels of carcinogens and potentially lethal pollutants in order to justify tough new air quality standards? The EPA has been carrying out these unethical human experiments in which subjects are made to inhale freshly pumped-in diesel truck exhaust fumes — without advising them of the risk to their health — which the EPA claims may be mortal. Junk Science.com, October 5, 2012:
EPA has admitted to a federal court that it asks human guinea pigs to sacrifice their lives for regulatory purposes — at $12 per hour.
- Failure to provide/obtain written consent. The Common Rule, as codified in federal regulation 40 CFR 26.117, specifically requires that written informed consent be obtained when risk of serious injury or death is involved in an experiment. As the consent form provided by EPA makes no mention of the risk of death, written consent acknowledging that they are willing sacrifice themselves for EPA regulatory purposes is not obtained.
EPA administrator Gina McCarthy sounds much like her boss. She doesn’t know anything about that, all studies are of the highest quality, etc. etc. etc.
Steven Milloy, founder and proprietor of JunkScience.com, which attempts to inject real science into phony government claims, has impeccable credentials. He writes that the “EPA air pollution scare is debunked by the best data set ever assembled on particulate matter and deaths.” In a subsequent column he explains just what the rules are on different kinds of studies.
Every time the EPA introduces a new policy that results in another power grab, the need for the power grab is couched in terms of how many kids are going to die from asthma, although doctors don’t even know what causes asthma. I find that suspicious. Yet with all the dead kids off there in the not distant future, the EPA is involving kids in their experiments without informing them or their parents of what the EPA believes to be their expected demise. They are deliberately exposing kids with asthma to what they regard as dangerous levels of toxic pollutants— which they then try to cover up. How do they get volunteers? Breitbart dug up some examples.
I am convinced that the EPA is an organization of environmental zealots solely interested in their own power. I have been writing about them for years, and I think the agency should be shut down and permanently shuttered. They exist only because of the bogus environmental scares fostered by the U.N.’s IPCC for political reasons, not scientific ones.
If fine particulate matter is not dangerous to human health, the EPA needs to stop using it to justify its power grabs. If it is dangerous the EPA has no business conducting tests on human subjects. And not to fully inform the poor guinea pigs of the dangers of the tests is beyond despicable.