The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

EPA "Power Grab"

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted May 20, 2010

Next Tuesday, the Senate is expected to debate and vote on Sen. Lisa Murkowski's resolution of disapproval to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act.

API has said repeatedly that the Clean Air Act is unsuited for regulating GHGs, and despite EPA's efforts to delay the pain of implementation through its so-called "tailoring rule," the impact on the economy and jobs could be severe.

During the past several weeks, numerous trade associations, states, labor unions, and elected officials have stated their opposition to EPA's regulation of GHGs, and bills are pending in both the House and the Senate to stop or delay EPA's plans.

Just this week another bill was introduced that would go one-step farther. It would block all federal agencies from regulating GHGs without the express authority of Congress.

Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-MT.) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) reportedly introduced the bill in response to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) decision to suspend oil and natural gas leases in South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana while BLM studies the leases' potential impact on climate change. (E&E News)

Also this week, former Senator George Allen and Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) authored a joint op-ed on which called EPA's gambit to regulate GHGs "one of the biggest power grabs in American history."

They explain that EPA declared GHGs harmful to public health and welfare, thus paving the way for "a regulatory regime more costly than any climate bill Congress has rejected or declined to pass, yet without the people's representatives ever voting for it."

The op-ed says that the proposed regulations would:

  • Empower EPA to determine fuel economy standards;
  • Require big-box stores, apartment complexes, and office buildings, among others, to get GHG permits to expand and build, forcing millions of firms to slow expansion plans;
  • Swamp the agencies that are supposed to issue the permits; and
  • Result in "devastating" economic consequences.

Lewis and Allen also question the constitutionality of EPA's plan. They assert that the agency's regulations would amend the Clean Air Act, an action that is afforded only to Congress, not a federal agency. As they put it, "This breach of the separation of powers only compounds the constitutional crisis inherent in the EPA's bid to hijack fuel economy regulation and climate policymaking."

For more information, read the full text of the Forbes op-ed.