On Monday, July 28, from 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM, the Heritage Foundation will host a panel on "Federal Overreach at the Environmental Protection Agency," moderated by Nicolas Loris, and featuring Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), CEI’s William Yeatman, and David Kreutzer from Heritage. RSVP here.
In the News
Obama on Climate Change: We Must Make Sure the Planet Works
Charlie Spiering, Big Government, 25 July 2014
California Environmentalism Conflicting with Pocketbook Concerns
Molly Peterson, KPCC, 24 July 2014
Surprise: Greens’ Preferred Sue and Settle Court Is in California Bay Area
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 23 July 2014
Sue and Settle: Another Way for Greens to Halt Progress
Stephen Moore, Investor’s Business Daily, 21 July 2014
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Is “Obsessive and Dangerous”
Laura Helmuth, Slate, 20 July 2014
News You Can Use
Poll: Americans Give Low Priority to Climate Change
Just 4 percent of respondents in a new Politico poll of likely voters in competitive Senate states and House districts identified the environment as the national issue that concerns them the most. The highest ranking concerns were the economy and jobs, which were chosen by 21 percent and 10 percent of respondents, respectively.
Inside the Beltway
Senate EPW Republicans Audition Arguments against EPA’s Clean Power Plan
On Wednesday morning, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified on the agency’s climate regulations for existing power plants before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, during which the minority party auditioned a number of arguments in opposition to the rule.
The regulation is known as the Clean Power Plan. It was proposed on June 2 and would, if finalized in its current form, effectively overhaul the electric industry in accordance with EPA’s climate goals.
Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) argued that the rule represented an unprecedented executive power grab, which is true. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) argued that the Clean Power Plan would shut down coal-fired power plants, which is also true. And Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) presented evidence that the rule wouldn’t actually impact global temperatures and is, therefore, all pain and no gain.
These polemics are all spot-on. However, the finest argument was put forth by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), who argued that the rule was an outrageous example of regulatory capture. Here’s what he said:
On July 6th of this year, the New York Times wrote a piece about the outsized role that the NRDC had in developing the EPA’s new regulations to curb power plant emissions…The article says it was a remarkable victory for the NRDC. Now, for those outside the beltway, NRDC is a $120 million a year lobbying machine, backed by Hollywood elites. It is absolutely shameful to me that the EPA, under the direction of this administrator, would allow a team of lawyers and lobbyists to draft their regulations…
EPA has decided to push a rule that was drafted behind closed doors by powerful, wealthy Washington lawyers and lobbyists at the NRDC. Let’s be clear, NRDC is a wealthy, elite, powerful lobbying machine with more influence over decision making in Washington than any ordinary U.S. citizen. They have millions which gives them access. The EPA turns a deaf ear on those that don’t.
Bravo, Mr. Barrasso!
The Wyoming Senator concluded his opening statement by throwing down a gauntlet. He challenged EPA and NRDC to comply with the Committee’s information requests, in order to ascertain the extent to which EPA has been captured by green special interests.
Across the States
Activist Judge in West Virginia Issues Another Anti-Coal Decision
West Virginia District Judge Robert Chambers issued another suspiciously anti-coal ruling this week when he granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and found Alpha Coal liable for selenium pollution that violates the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
The ruling is flawed on a number of counts. For starters, selenium discharge wasn’t included in the permits pursuant to these two statutes, so it’s unclear how Alpha could be responsible for controlling it. This isn’t a cause for alarm: The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the discharges of selenium actually caused any deleterious impacts.
More to the point, this is merely the latest activist decision from Judge Chambers, who is evidently anti-coal (see “Across the States” from the June 6 Cooler Heads Digest). In fact, Judge Chambers used to be a member of one of the plaintiff organizations (the W.V. Highlands Conservancy).
Around the World
Green Is the New Red
At a preparatory conference to the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this week in Venezuela, more than 130 environmental organizations signed the Margarita Declaration, which calls for the end of capitalism in order to fight global warming.
The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary, check out the Coalition’s website, www.GlobalWarming.org.