"Will the Senate vote to do its job, or will it instead vote to abdicate yet
more responsibility to an unelected, unaccountable executive bureaucracy?"
—ALG President Bill Wilson.
June 10th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today urged the Senate to vote in favor of Senator Lisa Murkowski's resolution that would repeal an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finding classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant that Wilson said "violates the constitutional principle of the separation of powers."
"This is not necessarily an environmental, energy, or even a tax issue — it's a constitutional separation of powers issue," Wilson said.
"Even if a senator believes in the highly controversial dogma that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are harmful, he or she should be gravely concerned at the blatant power grab the EPA has engaged in to declare that those gases are covered under the Clean Air Act," Wilson explained.
"They are not, nor was it Congress' intention to regulate greenhouse gases when the Clean Air Act was authored. Instead, it was a specious court ruling that greenlighted the unelected EPA to completely ignore the representative process of lawmaking by elected officials. Senators now have the opportunity remedy that error in judgment by restoring Congress' prerogative in this area of policy," Wilson added.
In 2007, the EPA was sued to regulate greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. "At the time," said Wilson, "the EPA did the right thing and said it did not have the unilateral authority to make the Clean Air Act apply to CO2, that it was up to Congress to make such a determination."
Wilson said certain Senators were "using the threat of unilateral EPA action to bully lawmakers to act on legislation restricting carbon emissions," including Senator Mark Begich of Alaska who recently said, "We need a comprehensive energy plan and if this keeps the fire under these guys to get something major done, I'm all for it."
Wilson described Begich's comments as "abhorrent to the legislative process."
"The Senate cannot complain about an all-powerful executive that makes its own laws without any vote, and then do nothing to rein in the EPA's power grab to define whatever it wants as a harmful pollutant, and to arbitrarily determine to what extent they will be restricted," Wilson said.
As reported by the American Spectator, the EPA changed the way the Clean Air Act applies to CO2: "The plain language of the Clean Air Act would apply the regulations to anyone who emits more than 250 tons of CO2 in a year. That means fast food franchises, apartment buildings, and hospitals would be subject to regulations aimed at clamping down on pollution from large industrial facilities. Even the EPA recognized the absurdity of this result. It took it upon itself to rewrite the law, saying that what the Clean Air Act meant in this case was 25,000 tons, not 250, and issued what it called a 'tailoring rule' to this effect. This represents a significant assault on the principle of separation of powers."
"Will the Senate vote to do its job, or will it instead vote to abdicate yet more responsibility to an unelected, unaccountable executive bureaucracy? This nation was founded upon the principle of representation, wherein the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed. For Congress to allow an agency to capriciously set the nation's energy policy, to cede that power to the executive, is dangerous, irresponsible, and unforgivable," Wilson concluded.
"Earth Not on Fire: The Threat Posed by the EPA's CO2 Endangerment Finding on the Individual and the Economy," Americans for Limited Government, June, 2010.
ALG Letter to U.S. Senate, June 8th, 2010.
"Apocalyptic EPA Should Not Be Setting Energy Policy," Editorial by ALG News, June 9th, 2010.
"The EPA's Reckless Endangerment," by ALG President Bill Wilson, June 8th, 2010.