Just a few days after honoring war veterans who fought to preserve America's Constitutional order, Senate Democrats voted down a resolution that would prevent unelected elites from imposing costly new regulations without congressional approval. Renegade federal agencies and judicial activists now have the upper hand thanks to feckless federal office holders who willingly surrendered their own constitutionally endowed legislative authority.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) Resolution of Disapproval of the EPA's Endangerment Finding was defeated 53 to 47 this afternoon. Only six Democrats joined with 41 Republicans to vote yes.
"Senate Democrats voted today to allow the Obama EPA to wreck America through regulation of greenhouse gases. "Americans should consider those who voted against the Murkowski resolution to be enemies of sound science and economic recovery," said JunkScience.com's Steve Milloy.
It is difficult to overstate how much this action endangers the nation's economic outlook and the financial security of individual Americans. Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) has released the following statement:
"The Senate has just voted to affirm that the EPA should be able to arbitrarily set the nation's energy policy by imposing unilateral restrictions on carbon emissions without any vote at all in Congress," he said. "This is a vote that will assuredly lead to higher energy prices, lost jobs, lost business, and the tyrannical imposition of a radical, environmentalist agenda upon the American people."
So long as the scientifically flawed endangerment finding remains in place there is no limit on how intrusive and expansive the EPA's new regulatory regime can become.
For starters, the federal EPA and its state counterparts will need to accommodate an estimated 41,000 Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) pre-construction permits annually as opposed to 280 it currently digests and over 6 million Title V operating permits per year versus 14,700.
This means a long and copious list of previously unregulated entities such as office buildings, apartment complexes, small manufacturers and small kitchens would come under government control. To alleviate the backlog, the EPA has proposed a "tailoring rule" to restrict the new regulations to large facilities. This is problematic in that the rule may not be legal under the CAA and could be overturned in court.
However, even if the tailoring rule withstands a legal challenge, the EPA will proceed to regulate smaller emission sources within a few years. This exercise cuts to the heart of why the Murkowski resolution was so critical. Essentially, the EPA stands poised to amend a statute without congressional consent in the name of environmentalism.
Moreover, even if the courts uphold EPA's tailoring rule it would not offer any safeguard against what is arguably the most pernicious aspect of the endangerment finding namely the rulemaking that would set the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) well below current atmospheric concentrations for greenhouse gases.
The economic fallout would be devastating. The lowered CO2 targets favored by environmental pressure groups, which are in the neighborhood of 390 parts per million to 350 ppm, would spur a global depression. This would enable environmental activists to use the CAA as vehicle for forced deindustrialization. Murkowski's resolution would have short-circuit the grand designs of green activists.
American freedom suffered a terrible setback today that desperately calls out for a constitutional revival. It will take forceful leadership to restore our nation's elected branches back to their proper station. As Democracy gains ground in the Middle East thanks to perseverance of U.S. soldiers, it is ironic to see it lose ground here at home.