Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Carbon Thugocracy

The WSJ editorial pages alerted me to something widely predicted in my blog and the conservative blogosphere. Obama's EPA is threatening to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. This is a blatant attempt to split the business community into those who will lobby for cap and trade against those who won't. As Dean keeps reminding us, If you're not at the table, you are on the menu. I dare the EPA to regulate CO2 for two reasons. First, there will be an inevitable court challenge and we could have the open debate on global warming 'Dawg wants. Second, the manner in which the EPA is proposing the regulation is patently unconstitutional.

Yet one not-so-minor legal problem is that the Clean Air Act's statutory language states unequivocally that the EPA must regulate any "major source" that emits more than 250 tons of a pollutant annually, not 25,000. The EPA's Ms. Jackson made up the higher number out of whole cloth because the lower legal threshold—which was intended to cover traditional pollutants, not ubiquitous carbon—would sweep up farms, restaurants, hospitals, schools, churches and other businesses. Sources that would be required to install pricey "best available control technology" would increase to 41,000 per year, up from 300 today, while those subject to the EPA's construction permitting would jump to 6.1 million from 14,000.

Usually it takes an act of Congress to change an act of Congress, but Team Obama isn't about to let democratic—or even Democratic—consent interfere with its carbon extortion racket. To avoid the political firestorm of regulating the neighborhood coffee shop, the EPA is justifying its invented rule on the basis of what it calls the "absurd results" doctrine. That's not a bad moniker for this whole exercise.

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