EPA chief: Hey, timing of new CO2 regulations just a coincidence!

posted at 12:15 pm on December 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Did any of us think that the timing of the EPA’s announcement to regulate carbon dioxide had anything to do with the conference on CO2 emissions in Copenhagen — which the President plans to attend?  Heaven forfend, says Lisa Jackson, the EPA’s administrator, who says it’s just all one big coincidence.  And she assure us of that from … where?

COPENHAGEN— Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson insisted Wednesday that her agency did not time the release of its global-warming endangerment finding to jump-start climate talks here.

“The endangerment finding and the work here are separate,” she told a packed room at the Bella Center. “Certainly, I was glad we were able to complete the finding and make that statement just before, but that wasn’t the impetus for our work.”

International negotiators have jumped on the ruling as a way for the Obama administration to increase its commitment to slashing greenhouse gases, regardless whether Congress goes along.

The ruling forces the EPA to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions reductions from industrial polluters like power plants, factories and auto makers.

Uh … sure it’s a coincidence.  Barack Obama wanted to go to Copenhagen with a cap-and-trade bill in his hand, but the Senate couldn’t get 60 votes for cloture on Waxman-Markey.  Harry Reid had to put it off until spring, which politically means it’s dead.  Obama wasn’t about to show up in Copenhagen the way he left after his Olympic pitch — empty-handed — so the EPA made sure Obama didn’t look completely impotent.

But even if the EPA expedited its findings, they didn’t come as a surprise.  The Obama administration warned Congress that a failure to produce climate-control legislation would result in an executive branch bypass of the legislature.  Mark Tapscott warns that this may be even more dangerous than the economic implications of EPA regulation of CO2:

There are so many deep flaws in the “Endangerment Ruling” announced Monday by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency that it is quite possible the worst of them will escape notice. After all, it’s hard to top the drama of the millions of lost jobs and the crippling energy crisis that will result if the agency begins regulating greenhouse gases — mainly CO2. The agency unilaterally awarded itself authority to do just that with the ruling. But even worse will be the terrible damage this ruling will inflict upon one of the most basic of American constitutional pillars, the separation of powers among co-equal branches, in this case the president and Congress. Obama has launched a thermonuclear warhead aimed directly at the very heart of congressional authority.

Here’s why: The EPA Endangerment Ruling assigns to the agency authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions not included under that law’s purview. Indeed, when the original law was approved by Congress, nobody said a word about any agency of the federal government telling any business or industry in America how much CO2 it could emit. By now saying the law gives it unilateral authority to declare CO2 dangerous pollutants, the EPA is grabbing power to regulate the 85 percent of the U.S. economy that depends on energy derived from the burning of carbon-based fuels. Those fuels — oil, natural gas, and coal — are heavy CO2 emitters. This ruling thus renders congressional intent irrelevant. If the ruling stands, the law will then be whatever the president and his bureaucratic minions in the executive branch decree, not what the people decide acting through their elected representatives in Congress.

Liberals used to screech about the Bush administration’s belief in the “unitary executive,” a concept they misunderstood from the start.  However, this power grab more closely resembles the point of their hysteria than anything Bush proposed.  Obama and Jackson have essentially bypassed Congress altogether and given the EPA the power to interfere in just about every transaction that takes place in the US.  That creates a juggernaut of an executive, unbounded in any practical way by Congress from using and abusing power.

In fact, the EPA’s timing makes that clear.  It intends to allow Obama to argue that he can implement any Copenhagen agreement by diktat, rather than wait to see if 60 Democrats in the Senate ratify a treaty in the proper manner and then legislate to enforce it.

Update: Looks like Jackson twittered out the other side of her, er, keyboard, as Stephen Hayes reports.

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Yesterday, December 7, 2009 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by unelected bureaucrats and functionaries of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The people were at peace with that agency and, at the solicitation of the EPA, were still in conversation with its process, looking toward the emergence of logic and reasonable conclusions based on a sober examination of the entire body of evidence. Indeed, one hour before public comment had closed the bombshell was dropped in Washington, the EPA director to the United States delivered to the public a formal reply to our recent, unexamined petitions. While it seemed useless to continue engaging the EPA through existing public comment structures, we continued in the faith that our petitions would be read and at least considered in the light that these are the true impressions of an informed public.

It will be recorded that the delivery of this assault on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the EPA has deliberately sought to deceive the people by false statements and expressions of due dilligence and continued process.

The attack yesterday delivered on and aided by the national media has caused severe damage to the American spirit and free enterprise. Many American jobs have been lost. In addition American trust has been torpedoed from San Francisco to New York and everywhere between.

Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency launched an attack against the agricultural sector. Last night EPA forces attacked manufacturing interests. Last night EPA forces attacked mining. Last night EPA forces attacked service industries. Last night the EPA attacked rail, shipping and transportation. This morning the EPA attacked tourism, entertainment and hospitality industry.

THe EPA has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the American way of life. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our property and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our abilities – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by the EPA on Monday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Reprinted from WUWT

papertiger on December 10, 2009 at 3:17 PM