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EPA BIOFUEL RULING - MARLO LEWIS
On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected petitions from the governors of Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, and North Carolina to suspend the biofuel-blending requirements established by the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) program.
However, the EPA stacked the decks against petitioners, establishing a burden of proof that was virtually impossible to meet. Indeed, the agency’s August 30 Request for Comment telegraphed the decision Jackson reached on Friday. The EPA stated petitioners would have to show that the “RFS itself” was the cause of severe harm, not merely a “contributing” factor. In addition, petitioners would have to show that waiving the RFS would be a “remedy” for the hardship facing livestock producers.
These criteria are ridiculous. The Clean Air Act does not require the EPA to don analytical blinkers and ignore other factors that, in combination with the RFS, cause severe harm, nor does it say that any waiver granted must be a silver bullet.
CARBON TAX - IAIN MURRAY
There are good reasons for conservatives to contemplate how their approach to young single women, gays, and immigrants might have contributed to recent defeats, but there is no reason to think that a switch on energy policy -- which is really economic and industrial policy -- might help. A carbon tax would punish the middle class and harm the broader economy now and going forward. It should be defeated the same way as cap-and-tax was defeated.
ONLINE POKER - MICHELLE MINTON
The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to introduce soon, is being touted as a way to legalize online poker. In fact, it is a self-serving piece of legislation that protects large Nevada-based casinos at the expense of consumer choice. The bill in effect criminalizes just about any other form of online wagering, while providing a tiny carve-out for online poker companies in a way that protects Nevada against competition from any other state in the nation.