10:06 AM, Jun 30, 2015 • By JIM SWIFT
To critics of the Obama administration's aggressive use of regulatory power, today's 5-4 high court ruling against the EPA in Michigan v. EPA might sound like a good thing. But the administrator of the EPA is sure she has the last laugh.
As The Hill reports, the case:
centers on the EPA’s first limits on mercury, arsenic and acid gases emitted by coal-fired power plants, known as mercury and air toxics (MATS). Opponents, including the National Federation of Independent Business, say it's among the costliest regulations ever issued.
The challenge is important because it's potentially the first of a few challenges the high court will hear regarding the EPA's rulemaking, interpretation, and enforcement of the Clean Air Act, a law first signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1963.
In interpreting a section of the Clean Air Act that gives the EPA some authority to determine whether power plants are "source categories" subject to National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations, the court ruled that the "EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants."
The EPA loses, right? Not necessarily.
The Hill also reports an exchange EPA chief Gina McCarthy had on HBO with Bill Maher on his weekly show Real Time With Bill Maher:
“This is a rule that actually regulates toxic pollution emissions from primarily coal facilities, and we think we’re going to win because we did a great job on it,” she said.
Of course we now know they lost. But then there's this:
“But even if we don’t, it was three years ago. Most of them are already in compliance, investments have been made, and we’ll catch up. And we’re still going to get at the toxic pollution from these facilities,” she continued.
Republicans have long critized the costs of regulations as a hidden tax on business owners, employees, investors, and consumers. They're not wrong that regulations can indeed be costly, but perhaps they're focusing on the wrong aspect of the cost.
Now with the regulations effectively stopped by the court, lots of power companies and cooperatives are left holding the bag -- expensive emission control equipment -- that no regulation requires them to fully use.
As the second term of the Obama administration winds down, look for this story to repeat itself. After all, if you can't regulate an upopular company or industry out of business overnight, all you need are regulations, lawyers, and a few years.
Even if you lose, you win.
3:34 PM, May 7, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Rural Alaska is well known for its wolves, bears, and moose, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set its sights on a considerably smaller creature: the bed bug.
2:30 PM, Apr 21, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
As Earth Day approaches, the White House is once again pushing action on climate change, presenting a rather stark contrast between action and inaction on carbon emissions. On Monday, the following graphic appeared in a White House tweet, presenting an almost night-and-
7:02 AM, Jan 29, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy took to the EPA and White House blogs Wednesday to declare that "
12:22 PM, Dec 26, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Environmental Protection Agency has increasingly seen its mission as the regulation of … just about everything. And as its sense of mission expands the confidence of the people in its ability to do so fairly and effectively has declined.
Dec 8, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Obama administration’s recently announced Clean Air Act power-plant rules, advertised as helping to control the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, have almost nothing to recommend them. Complex, clunky, and burdensome, they’re likely to spike energy bills while doing almost nothing to control pollution or stop global warming.
4:50 PM, Nov 21, 2014 • By DAVE JUDAY
Under the nation’s biofuels policy known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supposed to set an amount of biofuels—ethanol, biodiesel, and low carbon advanced biofuels—which are to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. That amount is to be finalized by the EPA on November 30 of the previous year so as to give energy markets a clear signal of what to expect.
2:15 PM, Aug 22, 2014 • By DAVE JUDAY
The dictionary defines a deadline as “the latest time or date by which something should be completed.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency obviously defines it another way, at least when it comes to renewable fuels.
Sep 1, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 47 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The riots in Ferguson, Missouri, have spawned a heated and, one hopes, productive debate about the “militarization” of the police. While one can argue about the tactics and weaponry used by police, however, there’s little debate about the necessity of cops being armed. The real problem is the thousands of agents in federal regulatory bodies who likely have no business being armed at all.
10:59 AM, Jun 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
EPA chief Gina McCarthy agreed with Bill Maher on Friday that the Obama administration is engaged in a war on coal:
"The clean power program," Maher said. "Some people called it a war on coal. I hope it is a war on coal. Is it?"
"Actually, EPA is all about fighting against polution and fighting for public health," McCarthy said before answering Maher's question. "That's exactly what this is."
"Oh, great," Maher said to applause.
Has the desperate global warming crusade reached its Waterloo? Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By STEVEN F. HAYWARD
The climate change crusaders, who have been at it for a quarter-century, appear to be going clinically mad. Start with the rhetorical monotony and worship of authority (“97 percent of all scientists agree!”), add the Salem witch trial-style intimidation and persecution of dissenters, and the categorical demand that debate about science or policy is over because the matter is settled, and you have the profile of a cult-like sectarianism that has descended into paranoia and reflexive bullying.
2:38 PM, May 7, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The administration has made climate change its signature issue until something better comes along. This means that the the EPA will be walking point. After all, no new environmental legislation will be coming out of Congress. President Obama didn’t ever try for that when his party had majorities in both the House and the Senate.
Of course the weather was nicer back then, so Washington may not have felt the urgency.
7:01 AM, Mar 10, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Less than a month after the exposure of a widespread vulnerability on government "open data" websites, another perhaps even more insidious opening for abuse of government websites has come to light.
7:34 AM, Feb 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with Elise Viebeck and Jason Riley, last night on Fox News: