EPA Attempt to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Will Kill Jobs, Critics Warn
December 8, 2009 - 9:41 AMCongressional Republicans and business groups are denouncing the EPA's finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health.
The finding, announced Monday, would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, under the 1970 Clean Air Act. (A 2007 Supreme Court ruling declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants as defined by the Clean Air Act and that the EPA had the authority to regulate them if they are found to endanger public health and welfare.)
“If the Democrat Congress can’t kill jobs by passing a national energy tax, then the Obama Environmental Protection Agency will,” warned Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Pence said the EPA’s announcement – which came on the first day of the international climate conference in Copenhagen – is an attempt by the Obama administration to build international support for a binding climate change treaty.
“It seems liberal Democrats will stop at nothing to overcome the strong objections of the American people to a cap and tax system,” Pence said. Liberals in Congress are pushing “cap and trade” legislation that would create an entirely new system for buying and selling carbon credits – and raise costs for every energy consumer.
In November, the economy shed 11,000 jobs, and Pence said the EPA’s endangerment finding “will kill even more jobs at a time when more than 15 million workers are unemployed.”
Beyond the job concerns, Pence said the EPA has no business doing an end-run around Congress: “The American people should have their voices heard in this monumental decision.” He urged the president to “allow Congress to work its will on this important issue.” Pence and most other Republicans oppose cap-and-trade legislation.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says the EPA apparently ignored the concerns voiced by the manufacturing industry:
“The endangerment finding will have a cascading effect on the ability of all manufacturers to grow and prosper,” said Keith McCoy, NAM’s vice president of energy and resources policy.
“By declaring GHG emissions a threat to public health and welfare through its endangerment finding, the EPA is paving the way to begin regulating carbon emissions across the board, including large stationary sources such as manufacturing plants, hospitals and libraries under the Clean Air Act.”
The federal regulations – not yet drawn up – would require new and expanding factories and power plants to install the latest pollution-reduction technology. Automobiles already face stricter fuel-efficiency standards.
NAM agrees that Congress, not the EPA, is the body that should address such issues, and it expressed disappointment with the EPA’s “power-grab move.”
“The EPA is moving forward with an agenda that will put additional burdens on manufacturers, cost jobs and drive up the price of energy. This finding comes when unemployment is hovering at 10 percent, and many manufacturers are struggling to stay in business. It is doubtful that this endangerment finding will achieve its stated goal, but it is certain to come at a huge cost to the economy,” McCoy said.
“We will continue to work with Congress to address this important issue and urge the EPA to think about the economic harm it is inflicting before moving forward with additional rules.”
According to the EPA, greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare indirectly, by warming the planet.Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said the EPA's finding will have far-reaching implications for every American.
"The administration's endangerment finding will lead to a wave of new regulations and bureaucracy that will wreak havoc on the American economy, destroy millions of jobs, and force consumers to pay more for electricity and gasoline."
And it's all based on flawed science, Inhofe said: "Lisa Jackson admitted to me publicly that EPA based its action…in good measure on the findings of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. She told me that EPA accepted those findings without any serious, independent analysis to see whether they were true. Of course, we now have thousands of emails showing several of the U.N.'s top scientists apparently evading laws requiring transparency, defaming scientists with opposing viewpoints, and manipulating data to fit preconceived opinions. They cooked the science."
Inhofe said the EPA's endangerment finding will have no impact on global warming -- because India and China, two of the world's leading carbon dioxide emitters will continue to pollute. As developing nations, they are exempt from the kind of pollution controls the Obama administration is embracing.
Said Inhofe: "The American people are getting a raw deal: all cost with no benefit."
(The Associated Press contributed some of the information used in this report.)