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January 13, 2010

Write the Laws Act: Does the Clean Air Act cover greenhouse gases?

As we reported in November, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations to curb so-called, greenhouse gases.

With these regulations, the Obama Administration will bypass Congress entirely and implement their climate change agenda. The administration knows what is good for us. Why mess with Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution? Why worry about giving the people represenation?’s Write the Laws Act (WTLA) would prevent this bureaucratic “legislation without representation” and we encourage you to send a letter to Congress demanding that they pass the WTLA.

These regulations will be very harmful, as I explained in my letter to Congress . . .

The EPA’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases is a prime example of the need for WTLA. The EPA’s “authority” comes from the Clean Air Act, though that bill was never intended to be used this way. As Steven E. Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute writes . . .

* Reducing conventional sources of air pollution in the Clean Air Act was mostly a technological problem–such as removing lead from gasoline.
* The intent and effect of the Clean Air Act was cleaner air, not reduced energy consumption (which has actually doubled)
* But the only way to reduce CO2 emissions is to burn a lot less fossil fuel because there are no add-on technologies to remove carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion
* Which means the EPA will turn into an energy regulatory agency

It gets worse . . .

* Because there are so many more sources of CO2 emissions than there are of conventional air pollution, the EPA’s regulatory reach is certain to be much greater.
* The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to regulate stationary sources (buildings, factories, power plants, etc.) that generate as little as 250 tons of pollution per year.
* 250 tons is a lot if we are talking about emissions that cause ozone, but it is a tiny amount for carbon dioxide.
* In fact, most small office buildings will meet that threshold, as will most fast-food restaurants and virtually all manufacturing facilities
* If the EPA makes exceptions for these smaller facilities, it will certainly face lawsuits from larger facilities AND environmental groups

And finally,

* CO2, the primary nutrient for plant life, is clearly not a hazard to human health in the same way as is carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and ozone – the intended targets of the Clear Air Act
* The EPA had to base its findings on CO2’s dangers entirely on indirect or secondary effects, such as the possibility of more deaths from extreme weather events like heat waves or hurricanes. But the EPA’s claims rests on dubious or contested scientific findings.
* Even the EPA’s own employees, Alan Carlin and John Davidson, have argued that that “the EPA and many other agencies and countries have paid too little attention to the science of global warming,” and cite peer-reviewed studies pointing out the deficiencies and anomalies of the conventional climate-catastrophe narrative.

The Clean Air Act is a terrible vehicle for regulating carbon emissions. Please enact legislation to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. And, please prevent future bureaucratic law-making by passing the Write the Laws Act.


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James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director

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