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CEI Today: Congress's power of the purse, regulatory dark matter, another EPA takeover, and more 

Thursday, December 10, 2015
In the News Today



Congress can rein in NLRB by withholding funds


Congress has the power of the purse, and should use it to prohibit the NLRB's joint employer standard that threatens small business and job creators. > Read the Washington Examiner commentary

> Interview Trey Kovacs



Blocking the DOL Fiduciary Rule

The DOL’s proposed “fiduciary rule” may be finalized in the next few weeks unless defunded by Congress in spending bills this month. The DOL will cause millions of investors to lose access to low-cost brokerage services and choices of investment strategies for their IRAs and 401(k)s. > View more

 Interview John Berlau



Report: Obama admin winning the new regulations race

While Congress passes just a few dozen bills each year, an unknown number of agencies push through thousands of regulations to create what Crews called "regulatory dark matter." > Read the Examiner story

> Interview Wayne Crews



EPA Imposes 54th Clean Air Act Federal Takeover of a State Program (previous 3 presidents imposed 5 total among them)


EPA Region 6 today announced that the agency would take over Texas’s Regional Haze program under the Clean Air Act. Yet, despite tremendous costs to power plants, their utilities, and the counties in which they are located, the Regional Haze rule would in no way impact visibility; the “benefits” are literally invisible. This is the ultimate example of an all pain, no gain regulation. > Read more





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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  With the support of Congressman Frank Guinta (NH01), the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passedtwo resolutions of disapproval of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that Rep. Guinta said would cripple the country’s energy sector and fragile economy.


    He pointed to studies showingenergy costs in New Hampshire are some of the most expensive in the nation, discouraging new business and manufacturing in an area losing population.“New Hampshire needs dependable energy to increase its appeal to diverse industries, reliant on low fuel costs, and to attract young workers, leaving for friendlier economic climates. The Granite State exists in a competitive national and global business environment, drawing away our best and brightest, eager to work or start families,” he said.


    “New England is on pace tolose ten percent of its local energy output,” elaborated Rep. Guinta. “Renewable fuels have not caught up to demand. Cutting production further, as the EPA plans to do, would raise prices in our own state, especially, where we already have enormous per-unit energy costs.


    The Congressional Review Act permits Congress to override federal regulations costing $100 billion or more via an expedited legislative procedure known as a Resolution of Disapproval. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the EPA’s regulations could cost American homes and businesses $289 billion per year and 224,000 jobs nationwide. One would effectively prohibit new coal-power plants, the country’s largest source of energy. The other would institute a cap-and-trade system that Democrats, when they controlled Congress from 2008 to 2010,declined to pass into law.


    “I’m just as concerned about another Administration end-run around the Constitution and Congress – because the public expects its representatives to protect jobs and the economy, as well as the environment. I’ve fought to preserve New Hampshire’s natural resources and will fight to preserve low energy costs, too.”said Rep. Guinta. “We can do both.”


    A member of the House Financial Services Committee, the Congressman, the former mayor of Manchester, said new EPA regulations would have the heaviest impact on low- and middle-income Granite Staters, whose energy costs make up a larger share of their take-home pay.  





Cooler Heads Digest 20 November 2015 

20 November 2015


The Cooler Heads Digest will not be published on 27th November.  The next issue will be dated 4th December.  Happy Thanksgiving!

In the News

Senator Manchin Shoots Hole Through EPA Power Plant Rule  
Marlo Lewis,, 20 November 2015

How To Halt the President’s Climate Change Ploy
Chris Horner, Washington Times, 19 November 2015

Pay Up, and Up, and Up: Developing Nations Set to Make Demands at Paris Climate Talks 
Senator Mike Lee and Representative Mike Kelly, National Review, 19 November 2015

Bob Murray’s Lawsuit To Stop ‘War on Coal’ Could Derail Obama’s Environmental Agenda 
Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, 19 November 2015

How Green Megadonors Built a Bogus Campus Anti-Carbon Drive
Tom Pyle, New York Post, 19 November 2015

House Hearing Witness: On the “Clean Power” Plan, EPA’s Cost Estimate Is an Underestimate 
Kate Scanlon, Daily Signal, 19 November 2015

Lomborg Pushes Back Against Joe Romm’s Screed 
Bjorn Lomborg, Watts Up With That, 17 November 2015

Video: Senator Mike Lee and Panel Discussion—A Preview of the Paris Climate Change Conference 
Heritage Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute, 4 November 2015

Video: All day conference on Preparing for Paris: What To Expect From the UN’s 2015 Climate Conference 
Cato Institute, 30 October 2015

Video: Panel Discussion on the House’s Role in the Paris Climate Treaty 
Cooler Heads Coalition and Heritage Foundation, House Science Committee Hearing Room, 26 October 2015

Video: Panel Discussion on Legal and Constitutional Issues in the Paris Climate Treaty 
Cooler Heads Coalition and Heritage Foundation, Senate EPW Committee Hearing Room, 19 October 2015

News You Can Use
COP-21: The Show Must Go On

Soon after the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13th November, for which the Islamic State in the Levant has claimed credit, the French government announced that COP-21, the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, would go on as scheduled in Paris from 30th November to 11th December.  However, outside rallies and marches organized by environmental pressure groups would be cancelled.

The decision that the show must go on suits the Obama Administration.  According to a compilation by Jerome Hudson published on Breitbart, the President and his officials have stated at least twenty-two times that climate change presents a greater threat than extremist Islamic terrorism.  Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent Socialist-Vt.) went one better in the Democratic presidential debate when he said: “In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” 

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Passes Resolutions Blocking EPA's Greenhouse Gas Rules

The Senate on 17th November passed resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants by 52-46 votes.  The two roll call votes on Senate Joint Resolution 23 and S. J. Res. 24 were identical. 

Forty-nine Republicans were joined by three Democrats in voting Yes.  The Democrats were Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.  Forty-three Democrats were joined by three Republicans in voting No.  The Republicans were Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Susan Collins of Maine.  Two Republicans missed both votes: Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The only real surprise was that Senator Mark Kirk voted No.  He had told Politico in late October that he would vote for both resolutions.  Apparently, a few hundred thousand dollars of broadcast ads in Illinois sponsored by environmental pressure groups changed his mind.  The Hill newspaper reported that the Natural Resources Defense Council sent out a press release attacking Kirk’s votes, but then had to send out a corrected press release that he had indeed voted against the EPA’s energy-rationing rules.  

On the House side, the Energy and Commerce Committee marked up its versions of the two resolutions of disapproval.  House Joint Resolution 71, which would block the greenhouse gas rule for new power plants, was passed on a 28 to 20 vote.  H. J. Res. 72, which would block the rule for existing power plants, was passed on a 28 to 21 vote

It is expected that the House will hold floor votes on both resolutions soon after they return from the week-long Thanksgiving recess on 30th November, which happens to be the day President Barack Obama will join other national leaders in Paris for a pep rally to kick off the twenty-first Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  COP-21 is scheduled to conclude on 11th December with agreement on a new Paris climate treaty.

The EPA’s power plant rules constitute the largest greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the U. S.’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris treaty.  Although President Obama will veto both resolutions, passage by the Senate and House will put the international negotiators at COP-21 on notice that the administration’s promises to cut emissions are just hot air. 

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith: Whistleblowers Confirm Suspicions About Shoddy Science at NOAA 

The chairman of the House Science Committee, Representative Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) on 18th November sent Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker a letter that follows up on a 4th November letter to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan concerning NOAA’s failure to comply with a committee subpoena.  In his more recent letter, Chairman Smith reveals that whistleblowers at NOAA have confirmed that a temperature data study by NOAA’s Thomas R. Karl was “rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists, ignoring established and standard NOAA scientific processes and potentially violating NOAA’s scientific integrity policies.”  

The phony study by Karl et al published in Science last June re-analyzes global surface temperature data and finds that there has been no pause or hiatus in global warming over the past two decades.  Here is a thorough debunking of the Karl paper published in Watts Up With That the day the study was published. There have been many more debunkings since then.  

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Congress Pushes Back on Paris Climate Treaty

Senate and House leaders this week launched several efforts to undermine President Obama’s negotiating position going into final negotiations over the Paris Climate Treaty.   

Thirty-seven Republican Senators on 19th November sent a letter to President Barack Obama that states: “We pledge that Congress will not allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to go to the Green Climate Fund until the forthcoming international climate agreement is submitted to the Senate for its constitutional advice and consent.”  The letter was organized by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee that has jurisdiction over international environmental agreements, and Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Ut.) on 19th February introduced a resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 25, along with 30 co-sponsors that makes the legal and constitutional case that any agreement reached at Paris is a treaty and therefore must be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent.  A similar resolution will be introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Kelly (R-Penna.) and Bill Flores (R-Tex.) and a long list of co-sponsors.  Lee and Kelly published an op-ed that explains their resolution here.  

Also on 19th November, Senators Inhofe, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced a shorter resolution that warns international negotiators that any climate agreement “shall have no force or effect in the United States and no funds shall be authorized in support of that protocol, amendment, extension or other agreement, including for the Green Climate Fund, until that protocol, amendment, extension or other agreement has been submitted to the Senate for advice and consent.” 

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,



CEI Today: Senate vote against EPA, regulation cost-benefit, virtuous capitalism, and more 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
In the News Today



CEI applauded the Senate’s 52-46 passage of a resolution to stop President Obama’s climate resolution:

CEI's Myron Ebell said, "The Senate votes against the EPA's climate control rules are a victory for affordable energy for American consumers and workers. The Senate has taken the necessary first steps toward rolling back President Obama's plans to put EPA in charge of people's energy use and to lock in perpetual global energy poverty through the new Paris climate treaty."

CEI's Marlo Lewis said, "The Senate has not only voted to overturn an unlawful regulation designed to crush the historic backbone of the U.S. electric supply system, it has also sent a clear signal in advance of the Paris climate conference that U.S. lawmakers will not ratify a treaty that would put an energy-starved world on an energy diet. Now the House has the opportunity to send a unified message by passing resolutions 71 and 72.”

> Interview an expert



Less than 1 Percent of Federal Regulations Get Cost-Benefit Analysis

In fiscal year 2014, for example, the White House Office of Management and Budget reviewed 54 major rules and a few hundred significant ones. Only 16 had cost estimates OMB reviewed, and only 13 had both cost and benefit assessments. > Read more

> Interview Wayne Crews



Virtuous Capitalism In Theory And Practice

The level of lobbying seems lower than one would expect. This suggests that many businessmen also have some sense of propriety, believing that earned income is morally superior to granted income. > Read more

> Interview Fred L. Smith, Jr.



The Mild, Mild West: regulation in America

America has a reputation as the land of Wild West cowboy capitalism. The truth is rather more mundane. The US economy is one of the most heavily regulated in the world, with the total cost of federal regulations standing at nearly $1.9 trillion—equivalent to nearly two thirds of the UK’s entire GDP. > Read more

> Interview an expert





CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,  Follow CEI on Twitter!


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Cooler Heads Digest 13 November 2015 

13 November 2015


The National Association of Scholars has published an excellent new report, “Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement To Turn A Generation Against Fossil Fuels.” The report and a summary may be found here.

In the News

An Outbreak of Sanity Down Under
Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, 13 November 2015

NY Attorney General Schneiderman Targets Exxon Mobil
Marlo Lewis,, 12 November 2015

Obama’s Wacky Science Advisor Is Living His Dream
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 12 November 2015

What Climate Alarmists Want: : “A World without Capitalism”
Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily, 10 November 2015

Atlantic Hurricanes Down 80% from 10 Years Ago
Roy Spencer,, 9 November 2015

The Climate Change Inquisition Begins
Robert Tracinski, The Federalist, 9 November 2015

Obama Caters to Radical Environmentalists
Nicolas Loris, CNSNews, 9 November 2015

The War against ExxonMobil
Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, 8 November 2015

Will Climate Change Ruin Your Sx Life?
Ronald Bailey, Reason Hit & Run, 6 November 2015

Union: Obama Threw Workers “Under the Bus” with Keystone Decision
Timothy Cama, The Hill, 6 November 2015

A Year into the Bust, American Oilfield Ingenuity Is Still Thriving
Christopher Helman, Forbes, 4 November 2015

News You Can Use
Report Projects Big Costs for “Clean Power” Plan

According to a new economic analysis by NERA Economic Consulting, the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule for existing power plants would cost $292 billion from 2022-2033 and result in double digit electricity price increases.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Likely To Vote on Resolutions To Block EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules for Power Plants on 18 November

The Senate is tentatively scheduled to take up the two resolutions of disapproval of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants on Tuesday, 17th November, and vote on them on Wednesday the 18th.  A Senate source told me that the votes are almost certain to be held next week.

Senate Joint Resolution 23, sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 47 co-sponsors, blocks the NSPS for new power plants.  Senate Joint Resolution 24, sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and 48 co-sponsors, blocks the ESPS for existing power plants.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is likely to mark up and pass their versions of the CRA resolutions on Wednesday as well.  The subcommittee mark-up resulted in straight party-line votes on H. J. Res. 71 and H. J. Res. 72. Because of the week-long Thanksgiving recess, the full House may not vote on the resolutions until the first week of December, which is also the first week of COP-21, the UN climate conference in Paris that is supposed to conclude negotiations on a new climate treaty.

Although President Barack Obama is almost certain to veto both resolutions, the votes will provide support for including appropriations riders in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill to block the EPA rules and will also undermine the credibility of the Obama Administration at COP-21.   

Across the States
William Yeatman

Judge Allows Deposition of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Clean Air Act §321(a) requires the EPA to monitor job losses due to the agency’s environmental regulations. In March 2014, Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, commenced a civil action in federal court alleging that the agency has failed to perform its §321(a) responsibilities with regard to monitoring the employment impact of the agency’s war on coal. Murray Energy’s unprecedented lawsuit survived EPA’s early legal maneuvering, and on May 29th, 2015, West Virginia federal district court judge John Preston Bailey allowed Murray to proceed with discovery against EPA, including depositions, with the purpose of discerning how EPA is accounting for the coal sector job losses that are attributable to the agency’s suite of anti-energy regulations.

EPA appealed Judge Bailey’s order, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied EPA’s request without explanation on July 9th. After conducting initial discovery, Murray Energy on October 7th notified EPA that it intended to depose EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and the company scheduled a tentative deposition date of November 24th.

EPA requested that Judge Bailey block the scheduled deposition, but yesterday, he denied the agency’s motion. EPA has appealed the matter to the Fourth Circuit, which will decide on the matter before the deposition is set to occur on November 24th.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Secretary Kerry Insists Paris Climate Treaty Will Not Be a Treaty; European Union and France Insist That It Will Be a Treaty

U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times in an interview published on 11th November (pages 1 and 2, subscription required) that the new climate treaty being negotiated now and due to be signed at COP-21 in Paris next month was “definitely not going to be a treaty,” that is, it would be some sort of agreement that will not require ratification by the Senate. 

Kerry’s categorical assertion was immediately contradicted by the office of the European Union’s climate commissioner and by the president and foreign minister of France.  A spokeswoman for EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told the Guardian that, “The Paris agreement must be an international legally binding agreement.  The title of the agreement is yet to be decided but it will not affect its legally binding form.”

French President Francois Hollande was just as categorical as Kerry: “If the agreement is not legally binding, there won’t be an agreement, because that would mean it would be impossible to verify or control the undertakings that are made.”  According to Reuters, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is president of COP-21, said that the Paris negotiations were not just “hot air” and suggested Secretary Kerry was confusing the issue because of domestic political realities: “The fact that a certain number of dispositions should have a practical effect and be legally binding is obvious, so let's not confuse things, which is perhaps what Mr. Kerry has done.”

Secretary Kerry did try to re-assure foreign governments in his interview with the Financial Times.  “[H]e claimed Republicans have no chance of taking the White House and that voters “‘will want someone who understands climate change … and wants to do something about it.’”

Kerry went on to predict that President Barack Obama would force Congress to appropriate money for the Green Climate Fund by being prepared to veto the Omnibus Appropriations bill.  But he also contradicted his view that Americans would vote for a presidential candidate who wants to “do something” about climate change: “[W]hen something is a high enough priority for a president, you have a way of getting it done, even though it’s opposed by people.”

Kerry also said that he was not opposed to Congress having some role in reviewing the Paris climate treaty, but that, “It depends on whether it is a poison-pill effort or a genuine effort just to review it.”  In these remarks, Secretary Kerry merely reflects President Barack Obama’s contempt for the Constitution and for the Congress.

Effort to Restrict Greenhouse Gases Falls Short in Dubai

Long before global warming became the leading environmental cause there were equally overblown fears that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were damaging the earth’s ozone layer.  These concerns led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, a treaty that banned the production and use of CFCs.  Now, the Obama administration has combined the two issues by targeting the substitutes for CFCs, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), on the grounds that they are greenhouse gases.  Domestically, EPA has enacted a regulation restricting HFC use in car air-conditioners and commercial refrigeration equipment, and the agency has promised more such regulations in 2016.

Internationally, the administration made an aggressive push for a treaty amendment limiting HFC production at the 27th meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol held last week in Dubai.   Despite sending EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to lead the negotiations, the U.S. delegation was only able to secure an agreement to hold more meetings next year to try to finalize a deal.  Nonetheless, the administration touted the Dubai meeting as a major step forward and momentum for a larger climate deal in Paris.

The main obstacle in Dubai was the concern raised by developing nations about the high cost of HFC substitutes.   This concern is well justified given that DuPont and Honeywell have patented a host of substitutes that sell for many times more than the HFCs they would replace.  Both of these crony capitalist companies have worked closely with the administration towards getting HFCs banned and thereby securing a captive market for their high-priced alternatives.

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,