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



  • Larry Bell

    CFACT Advisor Larry Bell heads the graduate program in space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded and directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He is also the author of "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax."