Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Has the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lost its mind?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has written to members of Congress, urging it to enact legislation prohibiting the US EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Has the Chamber of Commerce lost its mind? Obviously the Bush administration isn’t going to do this.

It’s clear that the Chamber is worried about an EPA in the post-Bush era. Of course, for many of us, that era can’t come soon enough.

From: U.S. Chamber of Commerce [mailto:hill_letters@uschamber.com] Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 4:52 PMTo: Bez, MelissaSubject: U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Legislation Preventing the Trigger of Greenhouse Gas Regulation Under the Existing Clean Air Act (CAA)

Chamber of Commerce OF THE United States of America

R. Bruce JostenExecutive Vice PresidentGovernment Affairs

1615 H Street, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20062-2000202/463-5310
August 4, 2008
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges Congress to enact legislation preventing the trigger of greenhouse gas regulation under the existing Clean Air Act (CAA).

On July 30, 2008, EPA published in the Federal Register a controversial Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that sets forth a multitude of CAA programs EPA would use to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in the “glorious mess” described by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell earlier this year. The programs contemplated by the ANPR would give EPA vast control over the daily operations of many aspects of our economy not presently regulated by EPA, all in the name of global warming. This is far too much economic control by an agency that was created by an Executive Order without an overarching mission set forth by Congress. T

he ANPR itself is EPA’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. The Court ordered EPA to answer the limited statutory question of whether greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution reasonably anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.

The bulk of the ANPR, an unedited draft analysis of statutory and mobile source greenhouse gas regulation under all applicable CAA programs prepared by EPA’s career staff, goes well beyond the Court’s directive in Massachusetts and offers a chilling look at the reach EPA would have if allowed to regulate emissions in this manner. EPA staff clearly believes they are empowered by the CAA not only to regulate the specific emissions from cars, trucks, planes, trains, boats, office buildings, refineries, manufacturing plants, tractors, lawnmowers, motorcycles, schools, hospitals, breweries, bakeries, farms, and countless other sources, but also to set radical new standards for the design and operation of those sources.

The ANPR also discusses, at length, the formidable shortcomings of application of the CAA to greenhouse gases. EPA staff even seems to acknowledge that the CAA is a poor vehicle for such complex and comprehensive regulation, and EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, along with the heads of eight other federal agencies and offices, outright denounced the CAA as ill-suited for the task of regulating greenhouse gases. However, EPA staff state in their draft analysis that unless and until Congress steps in, they will continue down the path of CAA regulation, and the ANPR sets forth the roadmap as to how our economy will ultimately look.

With just months remaining until a new president and a new Congress, it is unsettling that the hours of hearings, considering bills, and debating the finer points of global climate change in the 110th Congress could be rendered useless due to the heavy-handed actions of unelected officials responding to a very narrow court order. While Congress is grappling with this complex issue, EPA, through the ANPR, has gift-wrapped a solution none of us want. The U.S. Chamber strongly urges Congress to enact legislation prohibiting EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
R. Bruce Josten

No comments: