President Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C. (AP)
President Obama's carbon mandates finalized on Monday are nothing more than a smokescreen for bureaucratic actions that will not withstand judicial scrutiny, which has become common place for rulemaking under this administration.
Adjustments from the proposed to final rule consist of tricky, legal maneuvering meant to delay injured parties’ day in court.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the authority to issue its so-called Clean Power Plan, and the administration knows this. That authority lies with Congress, which rejected economically-disastrous carbon mandates when cap and trade legislation failed under a Democrat-controlled Senate.
As we have seen with immigration and health care, President Obama and his administrative officials do not care about the law and are not going to let Congress or the American people stand in the way. Since the president couldn’t get the law on his side, his EPA began colluding with extreme environmental groups and calculating with attorneys to find a way around Congress. That is exactly what we are faced with today under the so-called Clean Power Plan.
With the help of an excessive public relations and lobbying campaign, the president is trying to sell his carbon mandates as a “commonsense” and “flexible” plan to protect the environment. While it sounds good, a closer look reveals that this plan has little to do with protecting the environment.
In fact, the EPA failed to measure what impacts the plan would have on their climate indicators. According to expert witnesses who testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, the president’s plan could actually exacerbate global emission by sending American manufacturing jobs and investment overseas to high-polluting countries like China.
The president also likes to characterize his carbon mandates as the result of a collaborative, stakeholder-driven process. But his stakeholders boiled down to only a select few environmental groups, primarily the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as documented in a recent EPW Majority Oversight report.
Those most important stakeholders –including numerous states and struggling American families who stand to be hit the hardest – were substantively left out of the process. This is why 32 states oppose the rule and 15 already challenged the rule in court. More are expected to join forces with the final rule in place, and some states are taking the advice of Majority Leader McConnell by simply saying “no.”
Regardless of changes made in the final rule, generations of hardworking American taxpayers will still be left footing the bill of this multi-billion dollar regulation that will cause electricity prices to spike in most states while not even moving the needle on the administration’s own global warming concerns. This will be especially harmful for our fixed and low-income families as well minority populations.
Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce testified before the committee on June 23, stating that the Clean Power Plan would “increase black poverty by 23 percent, Hispanic poverty by 26 percent…and decrease black and Hispanic median household incomes by $455 to $550.”
It’s not just Republicans that have a problem with the president’s plan. His own constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School, Lawrence Tribe, testified that the Obama administration was attempting an “unconstitutional trifecta usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts – all at once.” Even former Sierra Club General Counsel David Bookbinder recently testified that the president’s climate agenda is unworkable and simply does not add up.
It is very telling when even legal and environmental experts that agree with the administration’s overall objective do not agree with the means by which they are attempting to achieve that objective.
Here in Congress, a bipartisan group of Senators are taking steps to protect our country from Obama’s costly, carbon mandates. The ARENA Act, which will be before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, sends the EPA back to the drawing board on these regulations while providing long-term protections for States, their energy systems and local economies.
Smart environmental policy is one thing. Ideological extremism from the Obama administration meant to scare the American people into accepting a bad deal is entirely different.