The Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a series of far-reaching executive decrees on carbon dioxide Friday, supposedly aimed at dealing with “climate change” based on largely debunked United Nations theories about man-made “global warming.” Drawing a furious and immediate response from critics on both sides of the aisle, opponents slammed the proposed EPA regulations as everything from wildly unconstitutional overreach to another assault on the embattled U.S. economy and even a “war on coal.”
Opponents are already preparing for lawsuits to kill the schemes while calling on lawmakers in Congress to restrain the out-of-control EPA before it does further damage. Energy stakeholders have also been speaking out, as The New American reported Saturday, warning about the dire consequences of the plan for consumers and businesses alike — higher costs, reduced economic competitiveness, further energy dependence, massive job losses, and more. Australia, which learned the hard way, is currently dismantling its own carbon taxes and climate leviathan.
Parroting the now-typical propaganda about essential-to-life CO2 gases being a “pollutant” — every time you exhale, you release the alleged “pollution” — the EPA claimed its newly unveiled carbon regime would improve public health and the “climate.” The agency also alleged that the decrees would “protect children,” though it was not immediately clear how. It is all part of Obama’s previously announced “Climate Action Plan,” which the president boasted would bypass Congress if needed under the guise of stopping global warming.
Under the proposal, which is expected to draw serious legal challenges, new coal-fired power plants would be required to meet impossible and completely arbitrary caps on the amount of CO2 emissions. If and when the scheme goes into effect, energy generation at new plants using coal would have to release less than 1,100 pounds (1,000 for some) of carbon per megawatt hour — essentially impossible with current commercially viable technology. Natural gas is also in the crosshairs, and existing plants are widely expected to be targeted under future decrees. Experts say the results will be huge job losses, skyrocketing costs across the board, and an even more unstable economic future.
“Climate change is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time,” claimed newly appointed EPA boss Gina McCarthy (shown, at right) in an error-filled press release about the schemes, ignoring the fact that the alleged “science” behind UN global-warming theories continues to crumble. “By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children. These standards will also spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy.”
According to the Obama administration, authority to regulate carbon dioxide was granted by Congress under the “Clean Air Act.” However, the reasoning is based upon the debunked notion that CO2 — a gas exhaled by humans and essential to plant life but fiendishly demonized by the UN and the Obama administration — is somehow “pollution.” In reality, man’s emissions of this fundamental gas represent just a fraction of one percent of the greenhouse gases present naturally in the atmosphere. The Supreme Court may take up a challenge to the administration’s claims next month.
Critics of the new EPA plan immediately lambasted it from all angles. Industry groups and energy analysts complained that the caps would be all but impossible to meet, causing soaring electricity costs across the country. Consumers of virtually everything would end up paying for the scheme via higher prices. More than a few experts also said the regulations essentially amounted to a “ban” on new coal-fired plants, which according to estimates currently supply almost half of Americans’ energy.
“The regulation announced today by EPA effectively bans coal from America’s power portfolio, leaving new power plants equipped with even the most efficient and environmentally advanced technologies out in the cold,” said Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association. The EPA, he added, is “recklessly gambling with the nation’s energy and economic future.” Needless to say, the consequences of the reckless gambling could and almost certainly will be dire if action is not taken to stop it.
Other analysts pointed out that in addition to an attack on coal, the new regulations represent what one commentator called a “war on domestic energy” more broadly. Separately, Daniel Simmons, director of regulatory and state affairs at the Institute for Energy Research, pointed out that it could affect America’s booming natural-gas industry, too. “What this rule is — it’s a foot in the door to end coal, but not only that, to end natural gas as well,” Simmons was quoted as saying in the Washington Times.
Even some prominent Democrats were up in arms about the EPA’s lawless schemes. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), for example, whose constituents depend heavily on coal and associated industries, blasted the Obama administration for promulgating “impossible” standards. Among other problems, Manchin said the regulations would kill jobs, spark soaring electricity costs, and increase economic uncertainty.
“Never before has the federal government forced an industry to do something that is technologically impossible,” he said in a statement, echoing widespread concerns. “Forcing coal to meet the same emissions standards as gas when experts know that the required technology is not operational on a commercial scale makes absolutely no sense and will have devastating impacts to the coal industry and our economy.”
Separately, the leading Democrat in the race to unseat Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky said she was “deeply” disappointed with the Obama EPA climate scheme. “Yet again President Obama’s administration has taken direct aim at Kentucky jobs,” said Senate contender and current Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. “The EPA’s ruling practically prohibits construction of new coal-fired plants, which will threaten Kentucky jobs and raise energy prices that hurt Kentucky’s middle class families.” Top Democrats from North Dakota to Louisiana have lashed out at the schemes, too.
Aside from a deluge of lawsuits expected to put the brakes on the EPA, more than a few critics of the latest scheming are calling for Congress to put the agency in its place and prevent the latest assault. Pointing out that even the EPA admits its new regulations will have no effect on global warming, Heritage Foundation energy and environment policy analyst Nicolas Loris ripped the administration’s announcement to pieces on several fronts in an analysis urging lawmakers to rein in the agency.
“Congress needs to act now,” Loris wrote. “As the EPA moves on to finalize this rule, the agency will begin working on CO2 regulations for existing plants, which will further inflict economic pain — again, for no impact on the climate. Congress should prevent the EPA and all other federal agencies from regulating CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the economic harm that will ensue.”
Of course, the Constitution does not provide for an EPA or anything of the sort. In fact, the agency was created by Richard Nixon via unconstitutional “executive order” and has been lawlessly attacking Americans ever since. Its most recent chief even resigned in disgrace amid multiple investigations surrounding criminal activities.
A better solution than simply having Congress stop the global-warming schemes, then, would be to abolish the EPA entirely. At that point, the American people could either pass a constitutional amendment via their elected representatives or let the states deal with environmental regulation. However, stopping the rogue agency from driving another nail into the American economy’s coffin would at least be a decent start.
Countless scientists from around the world — even many who have worked with the UN’s climate machine — have pointed out that global-warming theories and computer models underpinning the entire EPA effort have been so thoroughly discredited that they are impossible to take seriously. As just one example among many, global warming has essentially stopped for more than 15 years even as CO2 in the atmosphere continued to increase, defying every prediction made by the UN and its politically selected “climate scientists.”
Meanwhile, as The New American has documented extensively in recent months, many of the world’s top experts are actually forecasting an era of global cooling as the sun becomes less active. Among other problems for global-warming alarmists highlighted recently: the Arctic is rebounding quickly, the Earth has not been warming for 16 years, Antarctic ice cover is expanding in a major way, and the computer models forecasting global warming have been shown to be wildly inaccurate.
Indeed, the move to impose draconian new restrictions on the American people follows a spectacular years-long implosion of UN global-warming theories — a collapse that is accelerating as more and more data emerge. However, despite the worldwide debunking of the supposed “science” underpinning UN climate hysteria, the Obama administration and its allies have doubled down, launching a full-blown witch hunt targeting “deniers” in government while vowing to bypass Congress whenever it refuses to submit.
Sidestepping Congress to wage war on the American economy and its energy supplies would be bad enough on its own. Doing it all to fight an almost certainly bogus problem like “anthropogenic (man-made) global warming,” however, makes a complete mockery of government, law, science, and the U.S. Constitution. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle must get serious about restoring the Constitution and reining in the Obama administration immediately. Unlike sea levels or global temperatures, the stakes are only getting higher and higher.
Photo of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz: AP Images
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at
Copyright: The New American