Tag: EPA

Junk Obama’s Clean Power Plan

 

In 2015, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Clean Power Plan (CPP) that prescribed detailed regulations for the control of carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-powered power plants as part of its effort to control climate change. Earlier this month, the Trump EPA under Scott Pruitt issued its own proposed rule to undo the Obama administration’s guidelines without a commitment to replace them with a substitute set of rules dedicated to the same end. In response to Pruitt’s major shift in policy direction, states like Massachusetts and New York are suing to prevent the new legal regime from going into effect.

Pruitt’s reversal in environmental policy raises two issues—one scientific and one legal. The scientific issue revolves around the 2009 endangerment findings from an Obama administration study, which determined that carbon dioxide emissions are a pollutant whose emissions levels must be regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA) because “greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare.” Other chemicals on the list of six designated pollutants—like methane and nitrous oxide, with known toxicities—surely deserve that designation, but the Obama report overstates the risks of carbon dioxide to the environment.

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EPA Scientists Banned from Speaking at Climate Conference

 

The EPA administration is fighting back against the climate change ideologues. The agency has cancelled the speaking appearances of three scientists who were scheduled to speak at a non-EPA conference on subjects related to climate change.

These scientists contributed to a 400-plus-page report to be issued today on the status of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and its challenges, and there are fears that scientists are being silenced from speaking on this controversial subject. It’s widely known that the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, questions whether human activity is a major contributor to climate change.

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Gas Can Follies

 

I have a little can for gasoline. I use it to fuel my lawnmower. Recently the spout broke. I fixed it with duct tape, of course. And, of course, the duct tape only held up for a few months. The can itself is over 30 years old, and I have the idea that, since plastic deteriorates over time, it probably will need replacing within the next decade or two. I also thought that a cheap plastic gas can with a nice pouring spout would not cost very much more than a purchase of a replacement spout. So while I was out on Saturday morning I stopped by Autozone to pick up a new gas can. And, modern American life being what it is, I now have a story to post at Ricochet.

First, while my old can holds 2.5 gallons, the cans on the shelf all came only in two or five gallon size, so if I keep a little can it will mean more trips to refill the can. I don’t want to fool with the larger can, so I picked up one of the two-gallon cans and carried it to the counter. While waiting for the cashier to fire up his cash register (he had been in the back and so had to log in), I took a look at the new can. I unscrewed the cap and pulled out the pour spout, and started to install it for immediate use. The pour spout looked funny, and the cashier saw me giving it a close inspection. He said “You haven’t seen one of those before.”

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Trump Dismantles Obama Regs on Energy, Environment

 

President Trump issued a sweeping executive order Tuesday to unravel several Obama-era environmental and energy regulations. Signed at the EPA headquarters, the order calls for an immediate review of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which restricted greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired plants.

“We’re going to have safety, we’re going to have clean water, we’re going to have clean air,” Trump said, “but so many [regulations] are unnecessary, so many are job-killing.” He added, “Together we are going to start a new energy revolution.”

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Scott Pruitt and the Environment

 

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, has raised more hackles among progressive Democrats than any other Trump cabinet nominee. Typical of the ferocious opposition to his candidacy is the screed prepared by the Sierra Club that deems him a mortal threat to the safety of the planet because, as Attorney General in Oklahoma, he has “spent his time in office working to allow big polluters to do whatever they want, rather than protecting the health, clean air and water of his constituents.” Democrats like Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii have insisted that his nomination is “a four-alarm fire” because Pruitt is a pawn of fossil fuel companies whose cardinal sin is denying the conclusion of “climate scientists” that human emission of carbon dioxide is creating a global warming crisis.

The defenders of Pruitt have been equally vocal. President Trump, no man to mince words, has railed against the EPA for spending “taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.” In his view, Pruitt is needed to restore some sense of balance to the entire enterprise.

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The Environmental Permit Menace

 

Government Red TapeThere is wide bipartisan support to take immediate steps at all levels of government to improve America’s aging and dilapidated infrastructure. The challenge of infrastructure design is to move people and goods rapidly and efficiently from one place to another, while minimizing adverse environmental impacts.

Private firms can, of course, do a great deal of the legwork in putting this infrastructure together. But private enterprise cannot do the job alone. Long and skinny infrastructure elements, like railroads, highways, and pipelines, typically require the use of the government power of eminent domain to assemble the needed parcels of land. In addition, much infrastructure has to be built across government-owned land. The cooperation of government is thus needed for the completion of these projects. And there is always the risk that any major construction project could cause serious physical damage to the larger environment.

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Sanctuary House

 

On Thanksgiving Day, I stopped by the palatial home of my longtime friend and lawyer, E. Hobart Calhoun, a fellow Mensa member, bon vivant, and part-time oenophile. He was burning leaves in his front yard. I jumped out of my reconditioned hybrid Ford Falcon and raced to stomp out the flames, feverishly checking for any sign of the EPA death squads routinely patrolling our neighborhoods these days.

“Have you lost your mind?” I asked E. as I stepped out of my rugged Duluth steel-threaded overalls, which had caught fire in spite of Duluth’s guarantee that they were flammable or inflammable, whichever word is right.

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Supreme Court Puts the Clean Power Plan on Hold

 

clean-power-planOn February 8, the United States Supreme Court issued a terse order that by a five-to-four vote enjoined the Environmental Protection Agency from taking any steps to implement its Clean Power Plan. That most ambitious plan sought to impose a comprehensive long-term set of limitations on the use of coal, and indeed all energy sources, inside the United States. The order itself was a black box, which in its entirety reads:

West Virginia, et al. v EPA, et al.

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SCOTUS Smackdown of EPA: Top Takeaways

 

Stroke of the pen. Law of the land ... (record screech!)The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) did something remarkable on Tuesday: It momentarily respected the separation of powers and finally shouted “Enough!” to the lawless rule of the Environmental Protection Agency. SCOTUS issued a stay on Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” which is a radical, law-by-decree scheme to do nothing less than put this nation’s enormously complex energy-delivery system into the hands of central planners on the Potomac.

It was Clinton advisor Paul Begala who once said: “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.” Not any more … at least for now in this case.

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