By Benita M. Dodd
On the heels of President Obama’s announcement this week that he would focus more sharply on a climate change agenda, the American Legislative Exchange Council released a report today highlighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing usurpation of regulatory control from the states.
In The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Assault on State Sovereignty, ALEC highlights the most recent examples of how the EPA has consolidated and centralized environmental regulation and implemented especially onerous regulations that have placed undue burdens on states.
Remember Obama’s remarks in his inaugural address this year? “We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”
Apparently, the president is among those denying the overwhelming judgment of science: It has been widely reported that no global warming has occurred in the past 16 years!
The administration is taking credit, too, for the fact that, “last year, carbon emissions from the energy sector fell to the lowest level in two decades.” If you’d like to know what’s behind the decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, read this explanation. The bottom line is a lot of the decline in energy sector emissions is due to the innovations in and increasing use of natural gas (fracking), which the EPA is actively undermining, as the ALEC report points out. And a lot is due to the economic decline.
Nevertheless, painting a clear picture of his plan to sidestep Congress and pursue regulation without representation, President Obama is pushing for additional EPA regulations to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants, a move that will severely threaten states’ ability to generate affordable and reliable power for citizens.
“The risks of the EPA’s power grab are severe for the states. To be sure, there are billions, even trillions, of dollars of direct costs. However, there is also a more insidious price: the loss of states’ rightful authority.”
ALEC’s latest report detail’s the growth of EPA’s power at the expense of the states’ rightful authority. Since 2009, EPA regulatory disapprovals are up 190 percent relative to the average during the previous three presidential terms, according to the report. EPA takeovers of state programs are up 2,750 percent!
The time is ripe to push back against an unaccountable administration that is stopping at nothing to circumvent Congress to achieve a radical climate and energy agenda. In Georgia, Attorney General Sam Olens and Congressman Doug Collins are taking a lead in pushing to end the “sue and settle” collaboration between federal agencies and activist groups.
“With increasing and dismaying frequency, constitutional principles of federalism and separation of powers have been set aside in favor of administrative end-routes to a preferred policy outcome,” Olens pointed out in written testimony to Congressional lawmakers earlier this month.
“American families across the nation are tightening their belt,” Collins said. “It is absolutely unacceptable that their hard-earned taxpayer dollars go to fund backroom deals that subvert the rulemaking process.”
ALEC’s report explains: “Here’s how it works: An environmentalist litigation outfit like the Sierra Club sues the EPA for failing to meet a deadline for regulatory action pursuant to the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act. Instead of challenging the suit, both the EPA and the environmentalist groups immediately engage in friendly negotiations, which lead to a settlement that determines a deadline. By dictating how the EPA should use its limited resources, these sweetheart settlements effectively render official policy,” ALEC notes.
Since 2009, according to the ALEC report, the EPA has imposed at least $13 billion in annual regulatory costs that resulted from sue-and-settle litigation.
Check out the report and ALEC’s findings and recommendations here.
Read my recent commentary on the EPA’s bias here.