Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

15 June 2010

EPA Rewrites the Clean Air Act for CO2

The Obama EPA has ruled that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant and is to be regulated under the Clean Air Act of 1970.  This act was not intended to regulate CO2.  It was intended to regulate such gases as SO2 and NO2 and the regulated emissions threshold was set at 250 tons per year as a result.  The 2006 case of Massachusetts v. EPA was decided by the Supreme Court by a 5-4 decision and ruled that the EPA was empowered to make an endangerment decision on CO2, then widely claimed to be the cause of catastrophic man-made global warming due to the use of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.  The EPA has since declared that CO2 emissions are emissions of a pollutant that it will regulate them under the Clean Air Act.  This ruling has been challenged with many lawsuits, see here and here.

The 250-ton per year pollutant level in the Clean Air Act requires that every establishment emitting that amount of a pollutant be restricted from doing so. If CO2 is such a pollutant, then the 280 Prevention of Significant Deterioration pre-construction permits per year will shoot up to an estimated 41,000 per year. The present 14,700 Title V operating permits per year will become over 6 million! This is why the EPA is trying to use a tailoring rule to change the legislated 250 ton per year requirement of the Clean Air Act to a limit two orders of magnitude larger of 25,000 tons per year for CO2. This is unconstitutional and we can be certain that environmentalists will challenge this to force the EPA to regulate smaller and smaller emitters of CO2.  Opponents of the regulation of CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act should be able to challenge the EPA's change from the clearly legislated and required threshold of 250 tons of emissions per year, to force the EPA to stop claiming the Clean Air Act as their authority for regulating those emissions.

Just as the economic damage and the human carnage of the high energy tax on carbon or the cap and trade legislation has kept the Senate from passing a bill to that purpose, despite the House having passed such a ridiculous bill, the consequences of the EPA enforcing the Clean Air Act for CO2 emissions would be catastrophic.  This is why it is desperately trying to change the CO2 emissions limits, though it does not have the legislative power to do so.  The EPA will have a terrible political backlash on its hands if it tries to regulate CO2 emissions at a 250 ton level.  Apartment buildings, bakeries, restaurants, and many more very moderate sized businesses would then have to deal with the EPA's emissions regulatory paperwork, legal, and expense nightmare.

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