Heritage: EPA Global Warming Regs Dangerous

Sunday, 23 May 2010 07:58 PM

By Dan Holler

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You don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool “denialist” to be alarmed by the global warming regulations being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Just ask Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Or Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb.

They are all firm believers in man-made global warming. Yet they are all co-sponsoring a resolution aimed at blocking the EPA’s bid to regulate CO2.

Next Tuesday, Sen. Murkowski is slated to introduce a “resolution of disapproval.” That is the technical legislative procedure used to force a straight up-and-down vote in the Senate. What the resolution disapproves of is the EPA’s approach to regulating greenhouse gases.

What is so worrisome about the EPA’s approach? In short, the agency is poised to assert regulatory authority over the construction and renovation of a huge number of previously unregulated “stationary sources” of greenhouse gas emissions. The agency’s reach would extend far beyond “the usual suspects”--such as power plants and factories--and intrude into the everyday operations of churches, hospitals, schools, small businesses, restaurants and more.

The Congressional Budget Office recently analyzed a similar approach and found it would severely constrict job creation. So much for the false hope that Washington could somehow create enough “green” jobs to lead us out of the recession!

Common sense tells us that, having lost nearly 8 million jobs in the last 30 months, the last thing we need is a huge new regulatory regime that further depresses job creation. Yet common sense is often in short supply among lawmakers.

Consider Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Nevada Democrat has denounced the bipartisan resolution as "highly political" and "misguided." It shows just who’s really in denial here.

The disapproval effort is based on neither politics nor scientific skepticism -- misguided or otherwise. Rather, it arises from genuine concern about how the proposed regulations will affect job-seekers, working families and the American economy as a whole.

In the name of fighting global warming, the EPA would force these entities to undergo a time-consuming -- and grossly expensive -- process to apply for permits that would authorize them to emit greenhouse gases (from stoves, laundry operations, etc.).

The costs will be staggering. By EPA’s own estimate, the average permit will cost applicants $125,000 and 866 hours of labor. That’s enough to put some “stationary sources” out of business. For others, the money will come from cancelled expansion plans or lower wages.

In his inaugural address, President Obama proposed “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.”

Surely, the President did not envision America’s future as one of fewer jobs and lower wages. Senators must understand that the staggering costs associated with the compliance burden alone will further weaken the employment market as employers divert resources to cover a crushing regulatory burden.

Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has admitted that attempting to cut greenhouse gases by regulation is a poor way to go. Legislation enacting a carbon cap-and-trade regime is the “most efficient, most economy-wide, least costly (and) least disruptive way” to solve global warming, she asserts.

Yet even this legislative approach is exorbitantly expensive. A Heritage Foundation analysis of a House-passed cap-and-trade bill found it would destroy nearly 2.5 million jobs and raise gasoline prices by 58 percent. One shudders to think that Congress would stand idly by as Ms. Jackson’s EPA imposes an even less efficient, more costly and more disruptive “solution” on American families.

Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, an inveterate sponsor of global warming bills, agrees with Ms. Jackson’s assessment. “Imposed regulations, by definition, will not include the job protections and investment incentives” that his proposals would offer, he says.

Notwithstanding Sen. Reid’s curious assertions, there is broad, bipartisan agreement that the EPA regulations Senator Murkowski seeks to nullify are bad for the economy. Forty-six Senators and 196 House Members have signed onto various resolutions to delay or deny EPA such powers. The tallies include eight Democratic senators and 38 Democratic representatives. It would be a shame if such broad, bipartisan agreement were not translated into action.

After more than two years of recession, Americans want nothing more than a thriving economy. The prospect of newly empowered EPA bureaucrats peddling expensive, job-killing regulations thrills few on Main Street.

Poll after poll shows that the people want Congress to focus on the economy, to kick-start job creation. Allaying business fears and uncertainty by nullifying the EPA’s global warming regulations would go a long way toward convincing the American people that Congress is once again listening to them and serious about fixing the economy.

Dan Holler is deputy director of Senate relations for The Heritage Foundation.




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