Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just Like Cigarettes...

Except this time it isn't true. That's right. Four decades ago the Surgeon General, a bureaucrat, decreed that smoking caused cancer. The activists cheered and the lawsuits followed. The net result was multi-billion dollar settlements to individuals and state governments, the demonization of an industry, and huge increases in the cost of cigarettes, from both tax increases by indignant politicians and by the cigarette manufacturers themselves to cover the costs of the multi-billion dollar legal settlements.

The same will happen as a result of the EPA's ruling against so-called greenhouse gases, except that there will be dramatically higher costs across virtually every sector of our economy, and they will be paid by every consumer in America. Every product manufactured, every mile driven by anyone to go anywhere, every gallon of gasoline or diesel used to deliver products, every megawatt of power generated by fossil fuels...the list goes on and on.

Worse yet, this ruling empowers any citizen or government agency to file a lawsuit against manufacturers, power generation companies, public utilities, coal mining, oil exploration, refining and distribution, automakers and dealers. They can even sue your local gas station for dispensing an illegal substance, but yet these same zealots want to legalize marijuana. The list is endless and the reasons are downright laughable.

The justification for the government's action against cigarettes was that "cigarette smoking was dangerous to your health." Sound familiar?

The only difference between the bureaucratic ruling on cigarettes and Friday's bureaucratic ruling by the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency is that the Surgeon General was right and the EPA Director is dead wrong. So-called "global warming" - which has now been conveniently renamed "climate change" because the globe isn't warming anymore - is the greatest "con" ever perpetrated upon the American people.

Stand up and fight, America! Your way of life is being dramatically altered by a group of clueless, radical, liberal ideologues!

EPA moves toward regulating greenhouse gases

April 18, 2009

Sandy Bauers and John Shiffman

Apr. 18--WASHINGTON -- In a landmark move that countered eight years of inaction by the Bush administration, the Environmental Protection Agency determined yesterday that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare because they contribute to climate change.

The ruling set the stage for the agency to regulate emissions from a spectrum of sources, including automobiles, ships, airplanes, power plants, oil refineries, steel mills, and more.

Supporters and critics agreed that the finding was a game-changer with potentially profound consequences, though opponents warned that implementing new rules would have devastating impact on the economy.

The finding, which includes carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases, is subject to a period of public comment, after which the agency has no timetable and broad leeway in how to proceed.
"This finding confirms that greenhouse-gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said yesterday.

She said the solution would "create millions of green jobs and end our country's dependence on foreign oil."

Environmentalists said the decision, though long overdue, was the only logical course of action the government could take.

" 'Duh' may not be a scientific term, but it applies here," said Emily Figdor, global-warming director of Environment America. "Today, common sense prevailed over pressure from big oil and other big polluters."

Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), chairman of the subcommittee on clean air and nuclear safety, said: "The science about global warming is clear. The need to act is urgent. This announcement is further proof that the Obama-Biden administration is serious about addressing global warming."
Opponents have said the finding will prompt an economic train wreck and a constitutional crisis.

Sen. James Inhofe (R, Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee and a leading skeptic on global warming, said the decision would "unleash a torrent of regulations that will destroy jobs, harm consumers, and extend the agency's reach into every corner of American life."

The petroleum industry called the action "the EPA's single largest and potentially most complex assertion of authority over the U.S. economy and Americans' lifestyle."

The manufacturing industry said the ruling would "burden an ailing economy while doing little or nothing to improve the environment."

And the electricity industry predicted massive costs to the nation and its households if coal-fired generation were to diminish significantly as a result of new regulatory programs.

"A more potent anti-stimulus package would be difficult to imagine," said Marlo Lewis, senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

The EPA said the finding was based on "rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis" of six gases -- carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.

They contribute to global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Most of the gases come from smokestacks and tailpipes.

In an annual report released Wednesday, the EPA found that emissions of the six gases had increased 17 percent from 1990 to 2007, largely because of a boost in carbon dioxide emissions associated with fuel and electricity consumption. Carbon dioxide represents 85.4 percent of the emissions.

Climate change affects human health and welfare in many ways, causing both more frequent droughts and heavier storms, more intense heat waves and wildfires, rises in sea level, and harm to agriculture and natural resources.

The EPA's analysis also found that climate change has "serious national-security implications" because of the potential for political and social upheaval related to food shortages, environmental refugees, and clashes over fuel, water, and other resources.

Many expect the agency to address emissions from cars and trucks first, since the EPA already is considering California's request to allow the state to require new standards for autos that would reduce emissions.

As the process moves forward, the agency will have to consider what the best available technologies are and whether they are economically feasible. This is likely where the debate between environmentalists and industry will escalate.

Meanwhile, the Senate is working on legislation addressing greenhouse gases, and many predicted that yesterday's EPA announcement would speed up the effort.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), who last year introduced a climate-change bill he said was supported by labor and industry, said it would be best if Congress settled the issue with a new law rather than leaving the issue to an administrative EPA rule.

"It deserves the analysis you get with congressional hearings and floor debates," Specter said.
Environmentalists said the finding would give states the leverage to move forward with their own plans.

"The worst strategy right now is to pretend that doing nothing is the cheapest course of action," said John Hanger, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. "What's needed today is what was needed yesterday. Pennsylvania needs to move forward with energy conservation, with biodiesel, with technologies that capture carbon, with the solar program."

New Jersey DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said officials were "very pleased" with the EPA decision, given that the state has been "feverishly working on its greenhouse gas emissions-reduction plan" and other initiatives.

The finding also could give the nation needed credibility and leverage at international climate meetings, supporters say.

"This is going to position us for a very aggressive role" at the next major international climate meeting, scheduled to take place in December in Copenhagen, Denmark, said Robert McKinstry, a partner at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll L.L.P. who is an expert in climate-change litigation. "Basically, international progress has been stymied by the United States' lack of participation."

Yesterday's finding is a response to a Supreme Court ruling handed down after Massachusetts -- later joined by New Jersey and other states -- sued the EPA to force it to regulate carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

The court ruled in 2007 that the EPA had the authority to determine whether greenhouse gases were a danger to human health. Such an "endangerment finding" would trigger an EPA obligation to regulate greenhouse gases.

By December 2007, career and political officials had prepared a draft that declared climate change a threat to public welfare. Bush's EPA administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, approved the document and it was e-mailed to the White House.

But in a move that would cement Bush's legacy on what every former EPA administrator has said is the most critical environmental issue, White House officials refused to open the e-mail attachment. They knew what was inside and that once the attachment was opened, it would become public record.

The White House asked Johnson to reconsider. Seven months later, he issued a watered-down climate-change document that called for more study. Johnson told The Inquirer last year that he did so as part of an effort to "provide some rationality to the debate based on the best available science that keeps in mind the economic consequences as well as energy security."

Former EPA political appointee Jason Burnett, who wrote the original finding and later resigned over its rejection, applauded the agency for directly addressing the health consequences of global warming.

He said it was a good idea to include all six gases, which would lead to more flexibility in meeting the overall goal of reducing emissions.

But best of all, he said, unlike his own experience under the previous administration, this time the endangerment finding "was actually proposed."

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