GOP rep: Obama admin stealthily updates enviromental cost calculations, then announces new regs. Let's connect the dots here.

I realize that I’ve already written about this impressively insidious and sneaky little rule change a couple of times now, but especially in light of what I mentioned earlier today about the many new action items the EPA has on its agenda far and away beyond even President Obama’s carbon-emissions regulatory ambitions, I really can’t emphasize enough just how extravagantly underhanded this move was — as well as the pretty major impact it’s going to have.

Last month, the Obama administration (through the Office of Management and Budget, of all things) very quietly updated their system for calculating what they call the “social costs of carbon” (SCC), a tool they use to guesstimate the costs and benefits of their proposed environmental regulations, in a seemingly inconspicuous rule about microwave oven efficiency. The higher their price estimate, the easier it is for them for justify the economic costs of their regs — and how oddly timed is it that they just tried to sneak a change to an already highly controversial estimate system beneath anybody’s notice, and that they’re getting ready to introduce all kinds of new regulations on a whole bunch of types of emissions? Too odd, if you ask me.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) connected the change in the White House’s accounting method, called the “social cost” of carbon pollution, to the administration’s plans for new environmental rules.

“Connecting the dots, it’s clear the Administration updated the social cost of carbon, without much notice, in order to justify sprawling new regulations,” he said in a statement to The Hill on Monday.

Hunter added, “And not long after, the President pulls the curtain back on a new agenda that will lean heavily on rule making, and now there’s a clear line of sight into the Administration’s plans. There must be a more transparent process, allowing the public and industry to weigh-in on something so significant. That’s something everyone can support, including those who support putting a higher cost on carbon emissions.” …

After the OMB announcement, Hunter and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill requiring a 60-day public review period for new analyses of a rule’s impacts, costs and benefits. The legislation, the Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Transparency Enhancement Act, would also require agencies to publish a report on the methods used in studies of new rules.

The Obama administration were hardly what you’d call a bunch of slouches at introducing new and costly environmental regulations during the president’s first term, and their even bigger plans for the Round 2 are quickly becoming clear — as much as they’d obviously like to prevent them from becoming too clear. Move along, people, nothing to see here.