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No wonder so many are shouting, WE WANT TRUMP
While keeping Alaskan natural resources and oil on a yo yo string, Obama is simultaneously employing the EPA in a pincer movement destroying the American economy under the twin bug bears of global warming and supposed preservation of the environment – all sacred to the loony Left with no scientific correlation to the actual threat.
The EPA Doubles Down
Redacted from an in-depth expose’
BY STEVEN F. HAYWARD
The Weekly Standard
AUG 17, 2015
Over the years, “agency capture” has been a staple of the economic analysis of regulation—the phenomenon whereby regulatory agencies would come to be largely controlled by the industries they are purported to regulate. Railroads dominated the Interstate Commerce Commission during much of its early life, and for decades airlines used the Civil Aeronautics Board to stifle competition and innovation.
Unfortunately Agency capture is still rampant in many politically motivated regulatory schemes.
The Federal Communications Commission is likely to implement its new “net neutrality” rules in such a way as to cement an Internet cartel to the detriment of consumers and innovation.
The Dodd-Frank Act appears headed toward the cartelization of the big banks, to the detriment of medium-sized and small banks.
Increasingly the regulatory state has solved the problem of agency capture by instead becoming captive to such ideological interest groups.
This is nowhere more evident than at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has for practical purposes become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Environmental Movement. Beyond a revolving door between environmental advocacy and senior EPA staff positions, there is ample evidence of close collaboration between environmental organizations and EPA staff in regulatory rule-making and even in permitting decisions.
A cache of emails and other communication records that the Energy and Environment Legal Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute pried from the EPA through Freedom of Information Act litigation reveals close connections between EPA and the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
And as with Hillary Clinton’s private email server, senior EPA officials went out of their way to communicate through pseudonymous email addresses and private accounts, in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to avoid public scrutiny. In addition, EPA staff sometimes arranged to meet environmentalists offsite to avoid having to log visits to EPA offices.
The most significant collaboration, though, concerns Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” the final rule for which was released on August 3. The record is clear that environmental organizations—especially the NRDC—had major input into the design of the Clean Power Plan that was first announced a year ago, and are likely responsible for the major changes in the final, tougher Clean Power Plan rule just released.
The final rule calls for larger greenhouse gas emissions reductions by the year 2030, and will compel the use of wind and solar power over natural gas much more aggressively than the initial proposed rule of last year. (All this with the destruction to our economy gargantuan while the supposed benefits are admittedly minimal) jsk
The Sierra Club has openly said that after it succeeds in killing coal, natural gas is next on the menu. Having failed to stop the fracking revolution that has brought us cheap and abundant natural gas (the EPA recently gave fracking a clean bill of health after a four-year study), environmentalists now plan to constrict natural gas through the climate plan.
On the surface the final rule appears to be slightly more “flexible,” as the EPA describes it, as it has pushed back compliance timetables by two years. But the EPA’s “flexibility” is a euphemism for ambiguities that will enable arbitrary state-by-state diktats by the EPA, which must approve compliance plans that states are required to develop and submit (Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont are exempted).
The original deadline for the state plans was to be next summer, right in the middle of the presidential campaign, so pushing back the due date was likely done to avoid an election year controversy that would be unhelpful to Democrats.
There is one other small but highly revealing change in the final rule.
… This change involves environmentalists having to undergo an embarrassing about-face and recognize that one of their favorite slogans isn’t true. For years environmentalists have promoted energy conservation measures for buildings and homes with the claim that such improvements “paid for themselves” and were more cost-effective than building new power plants.
But there’s a growing body of economic research going back more than 15 years that finds the conservation claims to be exaggerated, when they are not completely wrong. Last month the National Bureau of Economic Research published a devastating study that concluded energy efficiency investments on average had a negative 9.5 percent rate of return, and that the actual reduction in energy use was less than half as much as the government models assert.
But the ultimate intellectual bankruptcy of the Clean Power Plan is this: According to the EPA’s own models, full implementation of the plan will lower global warming in the year 2100 by 0.018 degrees Celsius. That’s two one-hundredths of a degree.
If you believe that the world faces a climate catastrophe several decades hence, the Clean Power Plan is deeply unserious. In fact, the EPA claims no actual climate benefits from the plan. All of its claimed benefits come from ancillary reductions in conventional forms of air pollution (such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides). And the EPA is double-counting benefits, since other Clean Air Act measures are already reducing conventional air pollution.
Any private company that used accounting methods like this for its profit and loss statement would be hauled before the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud.
The whole scheme is driven by larger politics, namely, the U.N. climate summit scheduled for Paris at the end of the year. The U.N. climate circus has been deadlocked for more than a decade, and Obama was humiliated at the 2009 Copenhagen summit that was supposed to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which has expired.
Obama has decided to embark on a new strategy. With the Clean Power Plan now in motion, he will show up with a firm U.S. emissions reduction commitment in hand. Along with some bilateral tentative commitments to future action from China, Obama hopes to stitch together a potluck-style treaty in which each nation will determine its own contribution to solving climate change. (Shades of Obama allowing Iran to be the primary inspector of its own nuclear facilities!) jsk
The U.N. climate caucus will tie all this up in a fancy bow and call it a “breakthrough,” hoping that no one will notice what a retreat it represents from the pretensions of climate change activism of the 1990s. The important thing is to be seen taking “action,” and keeping the diplomatic circus going.
Steven F. Hayward is the Ronald Reagan distinguished visiting professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy.
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