the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

EPA Sets the Ball on the Tee

Posted by Jeff Id on April 17, 2009

E.P.A. to Clear the Way for Regulation of Warming Gases

By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that for the first time in the United States will regulate the gases blamed for global warming.

Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, said: “This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low-carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation.”

However, the E.P.A.’s announcement on Friday did not include any specific targets for reducing greenhouse gases or new requirements for energy efficiency in vehicles, power plants or industry. Those would emerge after a period of comment and rule-making or in any legislation approved by Congress.

According to the E.P.A. announcement, the proposed finding was based on rigorous scientific analysis of six gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride — that have been widely studied by scientists around the world.

Among the ill effects of rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and the other gases, the agency found, were increased drought, more heavy downpours and flooding, more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires, a steeper rise in sea levels, more intense storms and harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

“With this step,” he added, “Administrator Lisa Jackson and the Obama administration have gone a long way to restore respect for both science and law. The era of defying science and the Supreme Court has ended.”

Auto companies, utilities and other emitters have long dreaded this day but reacted with caution because the regulatory process has just begun and they hope to address their concerns in the legislation now before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Today’s proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations,” the agency statement said. “Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, E.P.A. would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input.

So this must be the part where the EPA calls me and asks what I think they should do.

Here is the tropical temperature anomaly calculated at CA by Steve McIntyre, it shows clearly the skyrocketing heat wave for the last 30 years.

http://www.climateaudit.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/tropics.gif

Current sea ice level

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

Good thing they base their decisions on sound science or we’d be in real trouble.


25 Responses to “EPA Sets the Ball on the Tee”

  1. Page48 said

    Can’t wait to see what the “low carbon economy” will be like, can you?

  2. I love this quote from the New York Times article.

    The heat-trapping pollution from our cars and power plants leads to killer heat waves, stronger hurricanes, higher smog levels, and many other direct and indirect threats to human health.”

    Stronger hurricanes? Uhm, no. Killer Heat Waves??? Uhm. No again.

    It’s not about our environment anymore. It’s all about power, politics, and money. Oh Well. Cap and Trade, or in another word, tax and control, here we come.

  3. Page48 said

    Anthropogenic Economic Meltdown

  4. Joel said

    Can we possibly hope that the EPA’s requirements for public comment, economic impact investigations and science hearings will lead to a refutation of the carbon hysteria?

  5. Page48 said

    Re #4, by Joel, “Can we possibly hope that the EPA’s requirements for public comment, economic impact investigations and science hearings will lead to a refutation of the carbon hysteria?”

    Sadly, No

  6. Joseph said

    We shouldn’t just sit in front of the keyboard and accept this.

    The 60-day public comment period for this opens AFTER it has been published in the Federal Register. SEND THEM YOUR COMMENTS.

    Here is the link to watch for it being published:

    http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/

    Click on “Today’s Federal Register”, scroll down to the EPA.

    Here are the instructions for submitting comments:

    http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/downloads/Instructions-comments.pdf

    The comments do become part of the public record, so let’s not rant.

  7. Page48 said

    Re #6:

    I’m having a major case of deja vu.

    For over 25 years I’ve dealt with environmental & legal issues stemming from the overly ambitious, Draconian, Clean Water Act of 1972.

    The original goal of the Act was to bring all groundwater up to drinking water standards – a standard that doesn’t even exist in nature. Over the years, the original law has been amended many times in various ways and other laws (such as the so-called “Brownfields Laws”) have been passed to better cope with reality and re-vitalize properties that were destroyed by even the perception of pollution.

    While the Clean Water Act of 1972 actually contained some necessary provisions, particularly in the area of UST monitoring, very little existing groundwater was ever “cleaned up,” and the primary beneficiaries, financial or otherwise, of the Act were not the “people” or “nature,” but the then burgeoning Environmental Industry and, ironically, the collective industries known today as “Big Oil.” (The Act was so extreme in it’s initial form that the smaller, “Independent” oil companies all were either dissolved or absorbed by the larger companies).

    It is interesting to note that about 30 years after the Act was passed, environmentalists “discovered” that many of the pollutants originally targeted for “clean-up” actually “dissipated” naturally without any man-caused assistance.

    Oops! How fortunate for the Environmental Industry that natural dissipation wasn’t discovered sooner!

    On the upside, as stated in the article above:

    “However, the E.P.A.’s announcement on Friday did not include any specific targets for reducing greenhouse gases or new requirements for energy efficiency in vehicles, power plants or industry. Those would emerge after a period of comment and rule-making or in any legislation approved by Congress.”

    Congress is notoriously slow and hopefully will put off any Draconian legislation until after the next year’s elections. Also, whatever legislation they do pass eventually will be subject, by law, to “review and public comment” for a couple of years before passing into enforceable law (unless Congress decides this is some sort or emergency – and they might.)

    And Joseph – It’s my comment and I’ll rant if I want to!!!!! (If you don’t remember Lesley Gore you won’t get that.)

    Have a pleasant evening, everyone!

  8. John F. Pittman said

    #4 and #6 The EPA has found “harm”. GHG’s will be regulated. Congress can set the standard for regulating. Comments that deny the finding of harm will have little traction since the EPA has made a determination. Comments even to the degree of harm must be handled carefully since a determination has been made. The comments should be directed to what is in the USFR.

    I believe more traction could be made by contacting your representatives and proposing such items as

    1. US should not regulate GHG’s unless it can be done worldwide, since it is implicitly and explicitly stated in the scientific literature that if the world reduces GHG’s but China and India increase total world-wide GHG emissions, harm will continue to occur. A challenge on whether that it is appropriate or legal to regulate an emission that cannot be controlled on local or national levels, by local or national regulations meets the legal definition of EPA’s authority, may gain traction.

    2. Propose to EPA/Congress a sliding target based on temperature, technological advancements, or other as was done for the MACT (maximum acheivable control technology) Standard.

    3. Propose to EPA/Congress a Standard with long implementation deadlines based on 1 and 2 above and show that such would maximize effectiveness of the new standard for reducing pollution not costs.

    etc.

  9. Page48 said

    RE #7

    WOW – don’t know how I managed to do that!

    Stop reading after the the Lesley Gore comment. Jeff – if you want to snip the whole comment I can re-post appropriately.

    Sorry. I’m tired.

  10. The Diatribe Guy said

    Ugh.

    Well, I can’t imagine most of us didn’t see this coming with an entirely Democratic Executive and Legislative, and generally liberal Judicial branch.

    Not that a number of Republicans didn’t drink the kool-aid either.

    Let’s brainstorm here… Let’s say that there’s a mortgage crisis and an overall credit crunch, and that we’re in the midst of a recession. Let’s also assume that we’ve already sent most of our manufacturing overseas because of a prohibitive tax and regulatory environment, and that we already import nearly all of our energy and manufactured goods. What can we do to turn it all around? I think I’ve got it! We declare a bunch of gases that occur in nature to be pollutants, impose burdens on industry in the form of more regulation and higher taxes, and institute a Carbon Credits scheme to save the world.

    All you doubters can go pound sand. If that isn’t a roadmap to economic boom, nothing is.

    I’m starting a pool regarding the date the U.S. dollar trades at 50 cents against the Canadian Dollar.

  11. The Diatribe Guy said

    #7: “Congress is notoriously slow”

    Prior to October 2008, Congress was slow.

    Then, a quickly and ill-conceived $700 billion bailout package was acted on. Then, in 2009, an even more quickly and ill-conceived “stimulus” package of $900 billion was passed without a single member of Congress having read the entire bill.

    I have little hope that the current Congress will not act quickly to condemn us to a lifetime of trying to unravel the socialism that has been forced upon us. We’ve always taken little baby-steps towards that, but the pace with which we’ve said “aw, screw it. Let’s just do it all now.” has made my head spin.

  12. Page48 said

    RE: #11, “Prior to October 2008, Congress was slow”

    I stand corrected, Diatribe

  13. Jeff Id said

    #11 Welcome back from the deep. If you want to make yourself crazy read some of how the college kids are thinking in the comments.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/10/a-farmers-view-on-carbon-credits/

    Drives me nuts.

    #12 Unfortunately. Pelosi actually promised 2009 for carbon action of some kind.

  14. AEGeneral said

    The era of defying science and the Supreme Court has ended.

    The era of the middle class in America has ended, more like.

    You people are going to rot in hell for the innocent Americans you’re going to kill with this nonsense.

  15. “Congraturations hourabre USA, we here in China support your actions, prease send us the rest of your manufacturing, except Generar Motors, dere, how you say – Fooked?”

    And any bits that China doesn’t want, we here in Blighty would be happy to have, including the bits of GM, like Vauxhall, that we stupidly flogged off years ago!

  16. Joseph said

    #8

    I’m not reading it that way. At this point it is only a proposal to find harm.

    http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/downloads/GHGEndangermentProposal.pdf

    The instructions for commenting states:
    -Explain your views as clearly as possible.
    -Describe any assumptions that you used.
    -Provide any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.
    -Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns.
    -Offer alternatives.

    This sounds to me like they are leaving the technical aspects of their proposed finding up to public review.

    I do like your suggestions in general though. Especially the one about long implementation times. With the PDO now in it’s negative phase, each years declining temperatures will be the best evidence against the claims of the IPCC. I just don’t like the idea of pretending that CO2 is a pollutant or that AGW is real.

  17. Page48 said

    RE: #16, by Joseph:

    “This sounds to me like they are leaving the technical aspects of their proposed finding up to public review.”

    You must be joking. I don’t mean to be rude to you, Joseph, but, apparently, you’ve never dealt with the EPA.

  18. Joseph said

    Re: #17

    Nope, I’ve never had the pleasure. Sounds like they’ve already beaten all the gumption right out of you, though. Are you preparing to just bend over and take it? Not me, the Irish in me won’t allow for that. I’ll be speaking up. It’s like that old saying: “He who fails to vote cannot complain about who gets elected”.

  19. Jeff Id said

    #18, I’m thinking we should put together some thoughts either way. I agree with Page48, the issue is settled the EPA has determined the danger and they will make laws how they want without consideration for any reasonable disagreement.

    I kind of like #8’s approach, it’s good business thinking. He knows it’s coming and disagreement will do nothing, so the question becomes how can we agree with them yet make recommendations which will blunt the effect?

  20. Page48 said

    RE #18

    Excuse me, Joseph – I intend to fight back in any way that I can, including writing emails to anyone and everyone that I can, in and out of government. Why do you think I take the time to chat on this blog?

    However, I don’t think it will matter.

    I’m not even sure that the government cares a whit about establishing a legitimate jurisdiction for EPA rules through appropriate Congressional legislation.

    What part of:

    ““With this step,” he added, “Administrator Lisa Jackson and the Obama administration have gone a long way to restore respect for both science and law. The era of defying science and the Supreme Court has ended.””

    do you fail to understand? What law? The law hasn’t been written yet, but who needs the rule of congressional law anymore when you’ve got the Supreme Court and the Rule of Science (if you want to call it that) interpreted by Lisa Jackson.

    In other words, I don’t think they’re going to pay any attention whatsoever to what you have to say during the period of “public comment.” I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

  21. page48 said

    Re #19:

    Jeff ID said,

    “#18, I’m thinking we should put together some thoughts either way. I agree with Page48, the issue is settled the EPA has determined the danger and they will make laws how they want without consideration for any reasonable disagreement.

    I kind of like #8’s approach, it’s good business thinking. He knows it’s coming and disagreement will do nothing, so the question becomes how can we agree with them yet make recommendations which will blunt the effect?”

    Let me see if I can clarify some of what I wrote earlier because I don’t seem to have gotten my point across to much of anybody (haven’t thought about this stuff in a while).

    Two years ago the Supreme Court declared that CO2 was a “pollutant” as defined by the Clean Air Act of 1970.

    The EPA has a legal mandate to regulate pollutants if said pollutants “endanger public health and welfare.”

    Yesterday, the EPA declared that CO2, and several other GHG’s, do, indeed, “endanger public health and welfare.”

    This declaration, combined with the Supreme Court decision, gives EPA the legal mandate, under the Clean Air Act of 1970, to set the upper limits of CO2 emissions for any and all CO2 producing entities within the jurisdiction of the United States.

    #8 is wrong in his Point #1. Congress won’t (can’t) set the upper limit standards, or regulations, in general (this aspect of the law is now out of their hands – the mandate has already been given to EPA via prior Congressional legislation, the Clean Air Act of 1970, if the previously mentioned definitions and standards of pollution and danger are met); the national upper limit emission standards and attendant regulations will be set & enforced by EPA.

    Congress’ first role will probably be to create laws across the board to divide up in some (supposedly fair) way the permissible, total, national CO2 emissions (this could include personal emissions, by the way – your furnace, your car, your stove, etc.)

    The 60 day period of comment is a legal requirement. They are not doing it to be nice. This is a done deal.

    If the EPA declaration remains unchanged after the 60 day comment period, the only legal way for this or any future Congress to address the emission standards set by EPA with respect to CO2 and the other GHG’s will be to repeal the Clean Air Act of 1970.

    (If EPA reverses itself regarding the dangers of CO2 at some future date, that’s a different story – they can and do take pollutants off their list at will.)

    The declaration today is, obviously, HUGE.

    #8’s Points #2 & #3 (target emission goals, sliding scales and the like) actually describe very well the manner in which the pollution controls for the Clean Water Act of 1972 were phased in over a period of time (roughly 25 years). However, nobody thought the earth was reaching a tipping point over groundwater pollution, so who knows how Congress and EPA will handle the initial stages of GHG reduction.

    I suspect that comments to EPA should address whether or not CO2 and the other GHG’s pose a “danger to public health and welfare,” because that is the issue on the table. I’m not an established authority, though, so please don’t let me influence anybody if you have have other ideas. That’s just my personal take on it.

    Congress’ second role will be the logistics. There’s a huge amount of paperwork that goes into any kind of environmental monitoring and the infrastructure has to be legally defined and placed.

    Congress will probably take some time to get the infrastructure in place, hopefully, so make as much money as you can in the near future because this little recession we’re now experiencing may seem like “the good old days” in a few, short years.

    I hate to sound so bleak; I’m normally a fairly optimistic person. I sincerely hope that I am 100% wrong about the future.

    Gee – I hope this explanation clarifies some of the things I said in my earlier posts. As I said, I’m not an authority, and the roles and interactions of Congress, EPA and the Law are not quite as cut and dried as I’ve expressed them here, but I do think I am essentially accurate.

    Take care.

  22. John F. Pittman said

    #21 Your point of my point is technically correct. However my point that Congress can set a law for CO2 and exempt it, or can take the proposed rules of CO2 and send them back to the drawing board is established in US law via the failed ergonoics regulations of OSHA. As “lawmakers” they do get to make the law and jsut as things changed when the CAAA (clean air act amendments). Congress can write the CO2 law and “require” EPA to follow the law.

  23. Jeff Id said

    #21,22 I think the whole point of the timing behind the EPA decision is actually to push congress to make the rules. A use it or loose it push. I was considering what #8 said that EPA not regulate US ahead of the world, my thoughts on this last night weren’t as clear as normal ;). The decision is already made. This morning it sounds like a waste of time, half of congress couldn’t get a job mowing lawns, how can they understand anything else.

    The first thing I watched this morning was Genine Geraffalo (don’t care about the spelling) going on on CNN about the Tea parties being about racism not taxes. Apparently thousands of people showed up not due to the fact that huge percentages of income are being stolen by the govt. but rather because the president is an African. WTF.

  24. Page48 said

    #22 – True, Congress the could repeal the CAA of 1970 or seriously amend it, but I don’t see that happening. Cynically speaking, it would not surprise me, at all, if the administration and EPA don’t try to circumvent Congress entirely and try to use the UN as the governing body on this issue, given that GAG emissions have global implications. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    #23 – I saw Garafolo’s assessment, too. Went to one of her shows once (years ago, before I knew she was an a##h###). The audience was almost exclusively white. Wonder what that says about her? LOL. Seriously, I wasn’t surprised by her comments – she’s just part of the MSM spin machine. Expect more of that from the MSM if the grassroots movement continues. Frightening, isn’t it?

    If it weren’t for this blog I guess I would be ranting to my dog. Thanks for providing the space, Jeff!

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  25. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) said

    20 etc.

    ““With this step,” he added, “Administrator Lisa Jackson and the Obama administration have gone a long way to restore respect for both science and law. The era of defying science and the Supreme Court has ended.”

    This goes in line with Barack Obama’s comment that he will fund a national police force IE(kgb, ss,)
    Links:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/07/obamas_civilian_national_secur.html

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=69601

    In talking about his plans to double the size of the Peace Corps and nearly quadruple the size of AmeriCorps the size of the nation’s military services, he made this rather shocking (and chilling) pledge:

    “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

    WOW this next one IS BAD!!! very negative…. not what I want to be thought of but I have to post do to my conscience. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCpiE7WpVVk&feature=related

    don’t dwell on it LOL

    Thank’s Jeff for the vent space :)

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