"It's not up to the EPA to hold the American economy hostage. Arbitrarily restricting carbon emissions without any vote in Congress is a violation of the public trust, and it must be repealed."—ALG President Bill Wilson.
January 12th, 2011, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today urged the Senate to enact legislation that would repeal an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finding classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
Wilson said "the EPA has set itself up as a legislator by arbitrarily amending the Clean Air Act, when it is up to Congress to make determinations about what the law should be. This is about the constitutional principle of the separation of powers."
Politico reports that the issue may come up again this session. Last year a similar proposal by Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski failed by a vote of 53-47. "Four Senate Democrats still serving this session supported it, and with 47 Republicans in the Senate now, it will be more difficult for Senate Democrats to block a bill that a majority of the Senate supports," Wilson said of the proposal's chances.
Wilson thanked Senator Murkowski for her prior proposal and urged her to bring it back. He also praised the four Senate Democrats still serving who voted for it, led by Senator Jay Rockefeller (WV). Senators Mark Pryor (AR), Ben Nelson (NE), and Mary Landrieu (LA) joined with Rockefeller.
"It's going to take bipartisanship to defeat the EPA, and Americans for Limited Government thanks Senators Murkowski, Rockefeller, Pryor, Nelson, and Landrieu for working together to save the U.S. economy from being strangled via regulation," Wilson said.
Senate Republicans would need every single one of the votes on their side, along with eight other Democrats besides the four that voted last time to overcome a filibuster and repeal the EPA endangerment finding. "It can be done," Wilson said, noting that the vote would be a difficult one for 23 Democrat senators up for reelection in 2012.
Wilson urged the Senate in upcoming months to take on the EPA, regardless of how they feel about the climate change issue. "Even if a senator believes that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants, he or she should still rein in the EPA, which simply declared that those gases are covered under the Clean Air Act," Wilson explained.
"Carbon dioxide, just like water vapor and other greenhouse gases, are not pollutants, nor was it Congress' intention to regulate greenhouse gases when the Clean Air Act was authored. Instead, it was a baseless court ruling that allowed the unelected bureaucrats at the EPA to seize this power," Wilson noted.
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."
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."
Democrat Senators last year had used the threat of unilateral EPA action to influence lawmakers to act on legislation restricting carbon emissions, including Senator Mark Begich of Alaska who 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 fired back, declaring, "It's not up to the EPA to hold the American economy hostage. Arbitrarily restricting carbon emissions without any vote in Congress is a violation of the public trust, and it must be repealed."
"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.