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Panel: Obama’s Emissions Regulations Mark ‘Unprecedented’ Executive Expansion

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Panel: Obama’s Emissions Regulations Mark ‘Unprecedented’ Executive Expansion

The Environmental Protection Agency kicks off public hearings today on its new carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions regulations for power plants. But before the public has its chance to weigh in, the EPA’s plan evoked harsh reactions from a Heritage Foundation panel.

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., joined the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s William Yeatman and David Kreutzer, a Heritage Foundation research fellow in energy economics and climate change, at the event, “Extremism at the EPA.”

“We sure as heck don’t need rogue agencies that continue to do things and change policy that has not been approved by the public,” Kelly said.

Kreutzer cited a Heritage Foundation study to highlight the steep effects of regulating coal-fired electric power plants out of the market, noting that if the administration were to pursue its “war on coal,” employment would fall by 500,000 jobs by 2030.

“These are very costly regulations that aren’t going to have a measurable impact on the world temperature in a hundred years,” Kreutzer said. “The social cost of carbon does not get them out of that.”

Kreutzer said the models used by the EPA to measure carbon’s effect on temperature have been “terrible” at predicting the degree of the earth’s warming.The loss of these coal-based plants would also cause a family of four’s income to drop by $1,000 per year—a $16,500 loss from now to 2030—which would equate to a $1.47 trillion drop in the nation’s aggregate gross domestic product.

Yeatman also opposed the EPA’s attempt to regulate carbon, pointing to Congress’ inability to pass cap-and-trade legislation as an indicator of the agency’s executive overreach.

A senior fellow specializing in energy policy and global warming at CEI, Yeatman explained the “most aggressive” regulatory action the EPA can take through the states is called the federal implementation plan, a measure he described as “regulatory takeover” because it involves the “seizure” of a state’s regulatory rights.

“The previous three presidential administrations—George W. Bush, William Clinton and George H.W. Bush—their EPA’s promulgated a total of five Clean Air Act federal implementation plans,” Yeatman said. “President Barack Obama, through his administration thus far, has promulgated 51.”

Yeatman describes this glaring difference as an “unprecedented expansion” of federal power, saying that the power allotted to the EPA through its most recent rule was unintended by Congress.

“[The rule] doesn’t have a clear congressional mandate—if anything I’d say all the evidence suggests the exact opposite, the Congress would have in no way intended this,” Yeatman said. “If Congress hasn’t enacted a climate policy, then why the heck is the EPA?”