The Environmental Protection Agency called a Daily Caller report “comically wrong” this morning. That is an interesting analysis given that the EPA’s hideously bad global warming regulations are more of a joke than actual regulatory structure. Either way, the fun and games will soon end when Americans are paying higher energy prices and businesses are shedding jobs as a result of these “comically wrong” regulations.
Earlier this week, The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle wrote that “The Environmental Protection Agency has said new greenhouse gas regulations, as proposed, may be “absurd” in application and “impossible to administer” by its self-imposed 2016 deadline. But the agency is still asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats—at a cost of $21 billion—to attempt to implement the rules.”
The figures come from the EPA’s recently filed court brief from litigation over the agency’s backdoor cap-and-trade policy—regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The $21 billion per year—more than double the EPA’s annual budget—is just for paperwork and permitting to comply with the agency’s global warming regulations. The way the Clean Air Act is currently written, the endangerment finding would require that the EPA regulate sources or establishments that emit 100 or 250 tons or more of a pollutant per year, results in apartment buildings, schools, hospitals and churches falling victim to regulation.
The EPA is firing back because the agency proposed a tailoring rule that would amend the Clean Air Act so that only large emitters of greenhouse gas regulations will be hit by the regulations. Both industry and environmental activists are upset with the tailoring rule, Robin Bravender reports in Politico: “industry groups are challenging the tailoring rule in court, saying the EPA doesn’t have the Clean Air Act authority it says it has, while some greens say the EPA proposal is too permissive.” In other words, there are green groups who want everything under the sun regulated.
Even with the tailoring rule, the EPA is going to need many more bureaucrats and a lot more cash to regulate CO2. With the tailoring rule in place, more than 1,200 small businesses—including brick manufacturers, small municipal utilities, small coal mines, and small paper and pulp mills. Although smaller business may be protected, most would still be indirectly hit through higher energy costs.
Regardless of how the tailoring rule is applied, it would only be for six years- during that time the EPA will evaluate the threshold and work on a streamlined process to regulate smaller entities. In essence, it’s open fire on everything…regardless of size. And that’s not a joke.
Since fossil fuels provide about 85 percent of America’s energy, these regulations act like an energy tax. Higher costs force businesses and families to use less energy. Without the higher energy prices, the Administration cannot reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Households spend more money on less energy. Businesses pass the higher costs onto consumers, and in turn, consumers buy less. The result is a dramatically slower economy and lost jobs.
Of course, proponents of regulations argue that they create jobs—not only because of the 230,000 new bureaucrats, but also because companies will have to build new plants, or existing power plants will have to install scrubbers or other technologies to comply with stricter rules. This line of argument purports that the higher the compliance costs, the more jobs the regulations will create. This is patently absurd.
The “regulations = jobs” crowd ignores the negative impacts higher energy prices have when they ripple through the economy. It also ignores the fact that money spent complying with arduous regulations could be spent elsewhere by a company. For instance, instead of hiring workers to install scrubbers, the firm could invest that money to operate more efficiently (thus lowering prices for consumers) or to expand its operations. In either case, the result is actual job creation, whether employment expands to produce more energy or as a result of additional consumer activity.
EPA regulations cause the exact opposite. Congress needs to enact policy that would permanently prevent unelected bureaucrats from regulating CO2, preventing the catastrophic economic consequences that come along with it. If Congress prevented the regulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, this would provide the regulatory certainty businesses need to grow the economy.