Morning Bell: Regulations of Mass Job Destruction

Conn Carroll /

Do you eat, sleep or pray? If so, then the Obama Administration wants to monitor, regulate and tax you. According to federal records only published yesterday, this past Friday the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a proposed rule to the White House that finds carbon dioxide to be a danger to public health pursuant to the Clean Air Act. One might wonder how a substance so natural that it is passing through your lungs and out your nose right now could be declared a threat to “the public’s health and welfare,” but such is the logic of the modern environmental left.

As the Washington Post notes today, the 1970 Clean Air Act “was never intended to deal with greenhouse gases and is not suited to that task” but the enviro left has been undeterred. According to internal documents presented by the EPA to the White House earlier this month, the EPA believes that global warming caused by elevated levels of carbon dioxide emissions could cause “severe heat waves…with likely increases in mortality and morbidity, especially among the elderly, young and frail.” The agency also claims carbon emissions could result in more severe storms and more suffering related to “floods, storms, droughts and fires.”

If the evidence the EPA is using to support these claims today is anything like the claims made in the EPA’s last blueprint for carbon regulation, then the scientific basis for the EPA’s findings are extremely weak. CATO scholar Patrick Michaels has detailed the shortcomings of the EPA’s Technical Support Document (TSD) concluding: “The TSD suffers from a failure to incorporate the best available science, misapplied logic, and the inability to recognize that observed trends in measures of human health and welfare run counter to those anticipated – despite on-going climate changes. As such, the TSD does not serve as an adequate basis for which to base an endangerment finding.”

But let’s set aside the non-threat carbon emissions pose to public health. The economic damage caused by EPA carbon regulations would be immense. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is already trying to minimize the economic danger telling the New York Times: “We are poised to be specific on what we regulate and on what schedule.” But, as we have pointed out many times, this statement betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Clean Air Act works and how an endangerment finding would trigger broad required regulatory action. New York Law School professor David Schoenbrod tells the Washington Post: “This would be a regulatory maze far exceeding anything we’ve seen before.”

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, regulating carbon through the Clean Air Act would affect at least one million mid-sized commercial buildings, including: 1/5 of all food service businesses, 1/3 of all health care businesses, 1/2 of the entire lodging industry, and even 10% of all buildings used for worship. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis has estimated that EPA carbon regulations will cause annual job losses exceeding 800,000 for several years and a cumulative GDP loss of $7 trillion by 2029.

In actuality, the Obama Administration has no desire to regulate carbon through the EPA. They are only using the EPA as the¬†threatening tool to force cap and trade legislation through Congress; legislation that President Obama even admitted would cause Americans’ power bills to “skyrocket“, would do nothing to stop global warming, and, if part of an international treaty, would send American tax dollars to foreign millionaires.

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