Challenge to EPA's 'Cap-and-Trade Tax' Going to Supreme Court

Monday, 25 Feb 2013 08:43 AM

By David Yonkman

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Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s costly new carbon emissions regulations are taking their case to the Supreme Court.

The Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation — representing 12 members of Congress and 15 businesses and business associations — is one of the largest groups that will file documents at the end of March to have their case heard.

The Foundation — known by its acronym SLF —filed the lawsuit against the EPA for levying what critics claim is an energy tax on U.S. businesses. The EPA unilaterally issued its regulations after Congress defeated a proposal to create a “cap-and-trade” scheme to limit carbon-dioxide emissions.

Cap-and-trade, modeled on a European system, is a program in which the federal government sells permits that represent a limit on how much carbon a business may emit. Businesses are required to hold the permits, or carbon credits, equal to their emissions. They are then required to buy or sell credits when their volumes increase or decrease.

“At a staggering cost of $1 trillion, Americans can expect the new regulations to inflict huge increases in utility bills, the cost of groceries and the cost of transportation, as well as the loss of 4 million jobs over the next two decades,” SLF Executive Director Shannon Goessling tells Newsmax.

Goessling, who also is the foundation’s chief legal counsel, estimates the regulations will cost American families $258 a month, or more than $3,000 a year.

In June, a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia dismissed a challenge to the EPA’s “endangerment finding,” which holds that carbon emissions endanger public health and welfare. The EPA argues that its finding justifies burdensome regulations on the energy companies that produce such greenhouse gasses.

Patrick Day of the Coalition for Responsible Regulation tells Newsmax that, despite that ruling, the EPA has yet to identify a meaningful or effective connection between reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improved health benefits.

“The potential for the regulation of these activities is enormous,” Day said. “There are coal plants all over the country that are shutting their doors because of the impact of these regulations.”

President Barack Obama himself admits the rules will cause energy costs to increase. “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” he said in a 2008 interview with The San Francisco Chronicle.

“Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston tells Newsmax that members of Congress have no alternative at this point but to take the issue to the courts.

The Georgia Republican said the Obama Administration’s repeated attempts to bypass Congress in furthering its agenda should serve as a reminder of the need for lawmakers to strengthen their resolve against such tactics.

“This administration is very heavy-handed in taking away our rights and freedoms, and we have to be just as tough and just as determined as they are in defending them,” he said.


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