EPA hides science behind draconian regs

By |2014-10-28T09:36:18+00:00October 28th, 2014|CFACT Insights|4 Comments

antoninThe EPA wildly exaggerates benefits of onerous regulations including its war on coal-fired power plants based upon data which even Congress can’t access. Such practices openly violate the Information Quality Act, Executive Order 12688, and related OMB guidelines requiring that agencies provide for full, independent peer review of all “influential scientific information” used as the basis for regulations.

Although a September Supreme Court decision — Utility Air Group v. EPA — referred to EPA’s rewriting of the Clean Air Act as “outrageous,” they are nevertheless allowing the agency to get away with it. On one hand, the ruling states, “When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate ‘a significant portion of the American economy,’ we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism.” 

Yet, as Justice Antonin Scalia commented, the agency “is getting almost everything it wanted in this case.”

Whereas the agency “sought to regulate sources it said were responsible for 86% of all greenhouse gases emitted from stationary sources nationwide,” he noted that under the court’s holdings, “EPA will be able to regulate sources responsible for 83% of those emissions.” This is despite the fact that virtually all of the EPA’s health claims regarding thousands of lives that will be saved by their latest power plant rules are founded upon unreleased studies and data. In addition, there has been no statistical global warming over the past 18 years while CO2 levels have steadily risen. 

To justify this latest incidence of rampaging regulatory overreach, the EPA has devised a “social cost of carbon” which supposedly monetizes damage linked to CO2 based upon climate and other risks. In doing so it first arbitrarily pegged this cost at $22 per ton of emissions, and then raised it to $36 per ton. 

As explained by my friend Paul Driessen, a senior policy analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow driessen(CFACT), the agency “adjusts and averages raw data at will, cherry-picks, distorts, and exaggerates results — then hides its analyses from public inspection and correction.” 

Driessen further notes that, “Even recognized experts and members of Congress are precluded from examining secretive and often questionable data, research, peer reviews, computer algorithms and analytical processes.” 

Although taxpayers and consumers pay for this information, Administrator Gina McCarthy maintains that she will continue to “protect” it from those she deems “are not qualified to analyze it.” 

This apparently excludes pretty much everyone other than EPA and its insider cronies.

Even the nonpartisan U.S. Government Accounting Office — GAO — has found that EPA reports were “not always clear” in providing information which “enable a third party to understand how the agency arrives at its conclusions.” 

bigmcGAO criticized EPA’s failure to quantify financial effects. 

They cite frequent exclusions pertaining to a regulation’s “primary purpose” or “key impacts” as particularly glaring problems given the far-reaching nature of the rules. Such omissions ultimately prevent decision makers in Congress and the public from understanding economic effects along with tradeoffs associated with alternatives.

Since EPA generally doesn’t use economic data as a primary basis for gauging a regulation’s usefulness, the agency obviously doesn’t think lost jobs or higher prices should prevent sweeping edicts. Tragically, the economic and social costs of their out-of-control bureaucratic rule-making are staggering. Paul Driessen reported in Investor’s Business Daily that Federal agencies currently impose $1.9 trillion in annual regulatory compliance costs. 

EPA requirements mandate that every state cut its carbon dioxide emissions by a national average of 30% over 15 years from levels of 25 years earlier. This lends credence to President Obama’s prediction that his energy policies will make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that new EPA rules on CO2 power plant emissions alone will shut down hundreds of generators, add $289 billion in consumer electricity costs, and lower household disposable incomes by $586 billion by 2030. 

The Chamber also projects that the regulations will cost the U.S. economy 2.3 million jobs and half a trillion in lost GDP over the next 10 years. 

The benefits? According to EPA’s own estimate the policies will prevent less than two hundredths of a degree Celsius [<0.02º C] of warming by the end of this century. Even this, of course, depends upon whether or not nearly two decades of flat global temperatures we have been experiencing are not a prelude to a many-decade-long protracted cold period that many prominent scientists now predict. 

Added social costs of that chilling prospect deserve serious consideration as well — scientifically indefensible policy burdens that weigh heaviest upon those least able to bear them.

This article first appeared at http://www.Newsmax.com/LarryBell/EPA-Carbon-Emissions/2014/10/27/id/603293/#ixzz3HQSSGkHr



  1. BruceMWilliams October 30, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Study after study shows that the actual cost of compliance for new regulations is about 10% of what the industry claims when they are fighting the regs. Just sayin…..

    • Scottar November 2, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      You got links for those claims?

      • BruceMWilliams November 2, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Here’s an interesting expose http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/08/20/experts-pro-smog-pollution-report-is-unmoored-f/200490

        And this one is more comprehensive. The actual costs are between one tenth and one half what the industry claims, typically. Hey, who wouldn’t inflate their numbers to protect themselves and improve their bargaining position?!? http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/Assets/2011/03/Industry-Clean-Energy-Factsheet.pdf

        • Scottar November 4, 2014 at 5:11 AM

          Media Matters is funded mostly by progressive liberals (like George Soros and the far-left Tides Foundation ) who are biased on global warming and energy.

          The linked PEW document was comparing other unrelated substances.

          When you look how the CO2 emissions curtailing is faring in Europe you will see how costly it has been. They are now phasing out or significantly reducing the feed-in tariff subsidies as they find renewables are unsustainable and hurt the fossil fuel industry which they depend on for backup or they have to import power from places like France with it’s nuclear power.

          The EPA want’s to go beyond the norm to unrealistic regulations based on trumped up research. For Instance, the new regs would require coal plants to reduce CO2 emissions to 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour where most modern coal-fired plants can only reduce CO2 emissions to 1,800 lb/MWh. But since CO2 is an non poisonous gas the new regs are not legal when the original scope of EPA’s regulatory areas was considered, it did not involve climate change. Besides new peer review research shows that human emissions of CO2 are only around 1~2% of the total.

          It has been revealed that much of the EPA’s Health and impact claims are bogus: “Although the EPA brass had assured the SAB panel that those studies had been vetted by“industry experts, academia, and government research and regulatory agencies,” further investigation revealed that the “peer-review” for some of those studies had been conducted by none other than EPA staffers and that others were apparently biased. ” “EPA itself admitted that it was unable to quantify any direct health benefits from its costly utility “air toxics” MACT rule – and a January 2014 analysis demonstrates that the health and societal benefits of using oil, natural gas, and coal outweigh any alleged “social costs of carbon” by at least 50 and as much as 500 to one.”

          But when you consider the overall cost of what the new regulatory reg do, (shut down many coal plants) resulting in more expensive sources, the effects goes beyond the plants themselves involving the cost of goods and services which are dependent on electricity. Did PEW consider that?

          Affordable and available energy goes to the core of the economy and anything that effects energy cost has a domino effect.

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