Senators David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) today called attention to a remarkably broad delegation of authority to the President in the Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bills that would require shutting down the U. S. economy beginning in 2015. Section 705 of Kerry-Boxer, S. 1733, requires that the EPA Administrator must submit a report to Congress every four years beginning in 2013 including a determination of whether the legislation and other policies in place are sufficient to avoid greenhouse gas concentrations above 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent (ppm CO2-e). Since concentrations are already at 430 ppm CO2-e and rising every year, there is no way that the policies in Waxman-Markey or Kerry-Boxer can keep them below 450. The U. S. economy could shut down completely, and emissions from other countries would soon push atmospheric levels past 450.

That’s where section 707 of Kerry-Boxer is triggered. Section 707 directs the President to use existing authority to keep atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases below 450 ppm CO2-e. Senators Vitter and Barrasso repeatedly asked EPA about this target beginning last summer. A few days ago they finally got answers to their questions from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. PNNL’s modeling shows that 450 ppm CO-e will be reached in 2010. Therefore section 707 will inevitably be triggered on July 1, 2015 if these provisions in Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey are enacted.

What does that mean? Well, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was not willing to speculate when asked by the Senators. But it’s easy to see that the complex mechanisms of the cap-and-trade program in Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey will have to be scrapped as of 2015. All those free ration coupons that big companies like Duke Energy and Exelon and P G and E are hoping to get won’t be worth anything because the President will be obligated to use whatever statutory authority exists to reduce emissions and get greenhouse gases back down to below 450 ppm CO2-e. All the command-and-control tools of the Clean Air Act will have to be used to require emissions reductions.

The kicker is that Senator Vitter also sent letters today to the heads of the big corporations that support Kerry-Boxer warning them that: “beginning July 1, 2015, the President would be mandated to deny discretionary permit requests for any activity that results in greenhouse gas emissions if the global greenhouse gas concentration of 450 ppm has been reached. Under this mandate, environmental groups will seek to block all new economic activities that require discretionary permits. Any allocated carbon credits (that is, ration coupons) …would be useless if discretionary permits are required.”

Then Senator Vitter’s letter plays the Sarbanes-Oxley card: “I wanted to ensure that you were aware of the impact sections 705 and 707 would have on your company’s operations and investments. Given your fiduciary duties, I know that you will advise your shareholders and others of the impairment of your financial condition and the value of any credit allocation that these sections’ enormous mandates and restrictions would create.” I hope James Rogers, CEO and Chairman of Duke Energy and the biggest corporate promoter of cap-and-trade legislation, has a hard time sleeping tonight. Ditto Peter Darbee of P G and E, John Rowe of Exelon, Jeff Sterba of PNM Resources, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical, Jeff Immelt of General Electric, and all the other members of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership.