…Nice try, but it definitely isn’t minor, and the GOP is calling the Obama administration out on their shameless regulatory sneak attack.
Last week, in what I would readily classify as an exceptionally and impressively dodgy maneuver for even for The Most Transparent Administration, Evah, the Obama administration tried to insert a change into their social cost of carbon (SCC) estimation system into an obscure rule about microwave ovens, no doubt hoping that nobody would really notice or care. The only problem is, a lot of people do care — because the federal government uses their SCC calculation to weigh the costs and benefits of their proposed environmental regulations. Their regulations have major effects that ripple throughout the entire economy, and they just suddenly tried to hike it up the SCC by $14 in one fell swoop to $38/metric ton starting in 2015. The higher the social cost of carbon, the greater the perceived ostensible benefits they get to tout and the easier it is for them to justify their many zealous ideas — and heck, the poor EPA gets so much flak as it is, why not just help them out and give them a freebie on this one, right?
Wrong. Via The Hill:
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Republicans told administration officials they’re “troubled” by a recent change to the way agencies calculate benefits from carbon regulations.
“This is a significant change to an already highly controversial estimate, and as such requires transparency, open debate, and an adherence to well-understood and previously agreed-upon rules,” the GOP senators, led by committee ranking member David Vitter (R-La.), wrote to agency chiefs at the Energy Department, White House Office of Management and Budget and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a letter publicized Wednesday. …
“As you are aware, the SCC [social cost of carbon] estimate is crucial to the Administration’s climate change agenda because the higher the number, the more benefits can be attributed to costly environmental regulations and standards,” they wrote. …
“In addition to real and ongoing concerns about the lack of openness and transparency throughout this Administration, we are troubled by any characterization of the reworked interagency estimate as relatively minor,” they said.
The GOP would like a response about the transparency-loving White House’s decision-making process on this distinctly-not-minor rule by July 2nd — is it too audacious to hope that we’ll actually get an honest one, you think?