Endangerment Rule

Post image for Climate Change Impacts in the U.S.: Sober Analysis, Cool Graphics from Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger

Cato Institute scholars Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger have produced a layman-friendly yet thoroughly referenced draft report summarizing “the important science that is missing from Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” a U.S. Government document underpinning the EPA’s December 2009 endangerment rule, the foundation of all of the agency’s greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations.

Pat and Chip’s draft report, titled Addendum: Climate Change Impacts in the United States, is a sober antidote to the climate fear-mongering patronized by the Obama administration, mainstream media, the U.N., corporate rent seekers, and the green movement. Among the best features are the numerous graphics, some of which I will post here.

Taking these in no particular order, let’s begin with the scariest part of Al Gore’s “planetary emergency”: sea-level rise. Is the rate of sea-level rise dangerously accelerating? No. Over the 20th century, there was considerable decadal variation in the rate of sea-level rise but no long-term trend.

Decadal rate of sea level rise from satellites (red curve) appended to the decadal rate of global sea level rise as determined from a nine-station tide gauge network for the period 1904–2003 (blue curve) and from a 177-station tide gauge network for the period 1948–2002 (magenta). Adapted from Holgate, S.J., 2007: On the decadal rate of sea level change during the 20th century. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, doi:10.1029/2006 GL028492 [click to continue…]

Post image for Will the Supreme Court Review EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations?

Powerful dissenting opinions can sometimes persuade a higher court to review a lower court’s ruling. Massachusetts v. EPA (2007), the Supreme Court decision empowering the EPA to act as a super legislature and ‘enact’ climate policy, is a prime example.

In 2005, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Bush administration EPA properly exercised its discretion when it denied a petition by eco-litigation groups to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new motor vehicles under §202 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). I remember feeling relieved but disappointed. The 2-1 majority ducked the central issue, namely, whether the CAA authorizes the EPA to regulate GHGs as climate change agents. In contrast, Judge David Tatel’s dissent made a strong argument that the EPA does have the power to regulate GHGs and, consequently, has a duty to determine whether GHG emissions endanger public health or welfare. Tatel’s opinion was a key factor persuading the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The Court in Massachusetts ruled in favor of petitioners, setting the stage for the EPA’s ongoing, ever-expanding regulation of GHG emissions from both mobile and stationary sources.

The EPA’s greenhouse regulatory surge, however, is not yet ‘settled law.’ Recent strong dissenting opinions by two D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judges may persuade the Supreme Court to review one or more of the agency’s GHG rules — or even reassess its ruling in Mass. v. EPA. [click to continue…]

Post image for Why Courts Should Repeal EPA’s ‘Carbon Pollution’ Standard (and why you should care)

Note: A nearly identical version of this column appeared last week in Forbes Online. I am reposting it here with many additional hyperlinks so that readers may more easily access the evidence supporting my conclusions.

The November 2012 elections ensure that President Obama’s war on coal will continue for at least two more years. The administration’s preferred M.O. has been for the EPA to ‘enact’ anti-coal policies that Congress would reject if such measures were introduced as legislation and put to a vote. Had Gov. Romney won the presidential race and the GOP gained control of the Senate, affordable energy advocates could now go on offense and pursue a legislative strategy to roll back various EPA global warming regulations, air pollution regulations, and restrictions on mountaintop mining. But Romney lost and Democrats gained two Senate seats.

Consequently, defenders of free-market energy are stuck playing defense and their main weapon now is litigation. This is a hard slog because courts usually defer to agency interpretations of the statutes they administer. But sometimes petitioners win. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), a regulation chiefly targeting coal-fired power plants. The Court found that the CSAPR exceeded the agency’s statutory authority. Similarly, in March, the Court ruled that the EPA exceeded its authority when it revoked a Clean Water Act permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine No. 1 in Logan County, West Virginia.

A key litigation target in 2013 is EPA’s proposal to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) “new source performance standards” (NSPS) for power plants. This so-called carbon pollution standard is not based on policy-neutral health or scientific criteria. Rather, the EPA contrived the standard so that commercially-viable coal plants cannot meet it. The rule effectively bans investment in new coal generation.

We Can Win This One

Prospects for overturning the rule are good for three main reasons. [click to continue…]

Post image for Inspector General Report on EPA Endangerment Finding: Did Agency Outsource its Judgment?

Did EPA exercise independent judgment, as required by Sec. 202 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), when it determined that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions endanger public health and welfare? Or did the agency improperly outsource its judgment to third-party assessment reports, such as those produced by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?

This is a key bone of contention in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, a case before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in which petitioners seek to overturn EPA’s GHG regulations.

Tonight (September 30), the Coalition for Responsible Regulation filed a motion asking the Court to “take judicial notice” of the EPA Inspector General’s (IG’s) recent report, Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes, and EPA’s comments thereon (Appendix G). Those comments appear to contradict EPA’s legal position that, in developing the Technical Support Document (TSD) for its Endangerment Rule, EPA conducted an independent review of the science, as required by the statute.  [click to continue…]

A staple of climate alarmism is the claim that snow pack in the arid West is shrinking and melting earlier in the spring season, diminishing supplies of water needed for irrigated agriculture in the hot summer months. But this year, snow pack is at record highs. Indeed, snow is piled so high that the big worry is not about summer drought but flash floods.

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Today at Pajamas Media.Com, I discuss the latest stratagem of the greenhouse lobby to protect EPA’s purloined power to dictate national climate and energy policy: Sen. Max Baucus’s (D-Mont.) amendment to the small business reauthorization bill.
 
The Baucus amendment would essentially codify EPA’s Tailoring Rule, which exempts small greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters from Clean Air Act (CAA) permitting requirements.
 
That may seem innocent enough. However, if enacted, the Baucus amendment would also codify the ever-growing ensemble of EPA climate initiatives of which the Tailoring Rule is only a small piece.
 
EPA’s current and probable future climate regulations include GHG/fuel-economy standards for all categories of mobile sources (cars, trucks, marine vessels, aircraft, non-road vehicles and engines) and GHG/energy-efficiency standards for dozens of industrial source categories. 
 
Congress, however, never authorized EPA to determine fuel economy standards for motor vehicles, much less dictate national policy on climate change. The Baucus amendment would put Congress’s legislative stamp of approval on EPA’s end-run around the legislative process.
 
The amendment has almost no chance of passing in the GOP-led House of Representatives. However, it does not need to pass to perpetuate EPA’s shocking power grab. All it has to do is peel off enough votes in the Senate to prevent passage of the Inhofe-Upton Energy Tax Prevention Act. That bill, which is almost certain to pass in the House, would overturn most of EPA’s current GHG regulations and stop the agency permanently from promulgating climate change policies Congress never approved.
 
Whether the Baucus amendment is adopted or just blocks passage of Inhofe-Upton, the U.S. economy will be exposed to the risk that EPA will be litigated into establishing national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for GHGs, and to the risk that EPA will use BACT (“best available control technology”) determinations and NSPS (New Source Performance Standards) to restrict America’s access to affordable, carbon-based energy. [click to continue…]

Post image for Hitting EPA’s Pause Button – What Are the Benefits, Risks? (Updated)

Yesterday (Feb. 16), House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) engaged in a colloquy with Interior and Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) on Sec. 1746 of H.R. 1, the One-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011.

Sec. 1746 of H.R. 1 states:

None of the funds made available to the Environmental Protection Agency by this division or any other Act may be expended for purposes of enforcing or promulgating any regulation (other than with respect to section 202 of the Clean Air Act) or order, taking action relating to, or denying approval of state implementation plans or permits because of the emissions of greenhouse gases due to concerns regarding possible climate change.

Sec. 1746 would block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which ends on September 30. “The funding limitation will allow Congress to carefully and thoroughly debate a permanent clarification to the Clean Air Act to ensure it remains a strong tool for protecting public health by regulating and mitigating air pollutants, and that it is not transformed into a vehicle to impose a national energy tax,” explains Chairman Whitfield’s press release. Whitfield is a co-sponsor of the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would overturn the legal force and effect of EPA’s Endangerment Rule, Tailoring Rule, and other rules imposing greenhouse gas permitting requirements on state governments and stationary sources.

In the colloquy, Chairman Simpson states: ”EPA’s GHG regulations need to be stopped in their tracks, and that’s what section 1746 does – it provides a timeout for the balance of the fiscal year, during which time EPA will be prohibited from acting on them or enforcing them.” In Whitfield’s words: “This CR [Continuing Resolution] provision is Congress hitting the pause button during the very brief period of the CR, allowing time to go through regular order and pass the Upton-Inhofe bill.”

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