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The EPA’s ‘Make Sure Nothing Gets Done Unless We Like It’ Mandate

Obama is about to carry out his State of the Union "climate change" threat.

by
Tom Blumer

Bio

March 28, 2013 - 9:00 am

On March 15, Bloomberg News reported that President Barack Obama plans to give the Environmental Protection Agency and its friends de facto veto power over virtually all economic growth and progress.

Of course, that’s not how the business news service’s Mark Drajem wrote it up.

But that’s the effect:

Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.

The standards, which constitute guidance for agencies and not new regulations, are set to be issued in the coming weeks, according to lawyers briefed by administration officials.

He’d expand the scope of a Nixon-era law that was first intended to force agencies to assess the effect of projects on air, water and soil pollution.

The law involved is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Obama’s gambit to expand the law’s reach is the kind of move I expect will become officially published guidance at a convenient time when almost no one is paying attention. Good Friday evening would thus be a strong possibility.

As described, this is a vast expansion of the law which first gave rise to “environmental impact statements” decades ago. These already odious monuments to overwhelming paperwork and institutionalized busywork will apparently morph into far more burdensome “environmental and climate change impact statements.”

Carrying through with the logic, virtually any attempt at economic expansion or improvement could be affected, not just “major projects.” Such statements could, and I believe eventually would, be required for any government or private-sector construction project, and perhaps even for an ordinary business decision which has the subjectively determined potential to increase carbon emissions, meaning almost any project or business action, large or small.

If a current or future EPA somehow tries to avoid or minimize such micromanagement, environmental groups, which have had undeserved standing to file virtually any lawsuit at any time against any project they don’t like since the early 1970s, will step in to force compliance with Obama’s expanded impact statement requirement.

The president’s planned move follows up on a threat he made in his January State of the Union address:

If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct … (applause) I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

We now see that Obama’s promise, as seen in the plan identified by Drajem at Bloomberg, was that if Congress wouldn’t cave to his obviously unreasonable, statist, carbon-taxing agenda, he would figure out how to do everything he could to help his administration engage in economic tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”) without them. He is now carrying out that promise.

At National Review, Stanley Kurtz believes that this regulatory expansion will enable Obama, if he so wishes, to have it both ways with the Keystone pipeline, and to accomplish what he instinctively wants — that is, to stop it:

The Bloomberg report makes it clear that Obama’s order opens the way for further litigation and substantial delays on Keystone, whether the federal government officially blocks construction or not.

Obama can publicly “approve” Keystone, while simultaneously handing the left the tool they need to put the project on semi-permanent hold. Environmentalists would take the political heat, while Obama would get off scot-free. Pretty clever.

Even though the State Department has concluded that Keystone will cause a barely noticeable increase and possibly a decrease in carbon emissions compared to using rail cars and barges to transport oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S., environmentalists will spend years arguing that the best alternative is for the U.S. to reduce its appetite for oil to the point where oil sands production in Canada no longer makes economic sense. The fact that Canada is already hedging its bets and planning to send its oil to China is lost on them — and besides, they’re also trying to stop the pipeline which would take the oil to Western Canadian ports.

The longer and more costly the delays, the greater the chances are that Keystone’s backers will throw in the towel. That problem will apply to just about anything that anyone will try to build.

Take Greater Cincinnati’s outdated, overcrowded, 1960s-era Brent Spence Bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky. This is the structure Obama used as a phony political prop in September 2011 as he lobbied to have Congress approve infrastructure spending which was supposed to happen in the 2009 stimulus bill, but mostly never did.

In enviro-zealots’ minds, while reducing idling in traffic jams would be good, a Brent Spence replacement wide enough to accommodate future traffic growth would be bad, because more car and truck traffic means more emissions. Odds are they would try to argue that future traffic developments should be limited to trendy but publicly rejected ideas like light rail, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and the like. And besides, they prefer it be as inconvenient as possible for those people who drive long distances to work everyday, and that these people be nudged to take jobs closer to home.

If you’re a fast-food franchisee who wishes to build another location in the outer suburbs, I don’t see how ambitious litigants couldn’t invoke the broad reach of NEPA to argue that your new location will cause people to make more carbon-emitting car trips and contribute to carbon-emitting urban sprawl. Besides, they’ll argue, we’d be much better off if potential customers bought their food at grocery stores.

You want to move your company’s headquarters? Better study your “before” and “after” carbon emissions, as well as those involved in the move itself. If you don’t, the greenies might make you do it, and you won’t like the result. The guess here is that if you want to pony up some buckaroos to environment organizations, they just might give you a pass and not object to your plans.

Many businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and investors looking at these constraints will throw up their hands and say: “Forget it.” Then the self-appointed geniuses on the left, as they see economic growth stagnate, evaporate, or go negative, will scratch their arrogant heads and wonder why it’s happening – except for the true believers, who will rub their hands in glee.

Along with having a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development, Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog, BizzyBlog.com, since 2005, and has been a PJM contributor since 2008.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
When Nixon created EPA we needed it badly. In the 40 years since it grown into a communist infest monstrosity that need killing. Start over.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And I'm still shocked that people still get surprised with our Marxist-flavored fascist president once again acts like a Marxist-flavored fascist. What other kind of behavior were you expecting, exactly, after 5 years of having this wannabe dictator in the White House?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's time for the final blow to America's might.

Hey, people voted for these guys (and/or did not go to vote)...
Enjoy the Dark Ages
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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What would be the effect of this Global Warming fraud and coercion, if successful? To make part of the world fools and part hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth. Al Gore and the Global Warming fraudsters and fanatics have converted simple changes in the weather into an engine with which to try to enslave mankind to filch wealth and power to themselves. They, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Scientists.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Global warming is regarded by the sheeple as true, by those who can think for themselves as false and by the power mad and money grubbers as … … useful.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama's election reminds me of the advice about buying any stocks or bonds; "Don't buy on emotion".
NOT ONE OF OBAMA'S VOTERS CAN SWEAR THEY DID NOT VOTE ON EMOTION.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Except, that is, for the members of the Deceased-American community who voted for Obama. And there sure were a lot of them! :)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama will take my guns, but he'll be happy to blow out your uterus. (Is he a schizophrenic suicide bomber?)
I'm lucky I'm not a woman; But, true to form, I'll be paying for this "service" as if I was married to all these "beneficiaries".
WAS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT?
To answer this question, you have to qualify with seniority.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Things won't change until the low-information voter becomes aware. That will take a fox-hole conversion type experience for most of them. Unfortunately, this means unnecessary suffering for most due to lack of freedom and calamity or both.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Never underestimate the power of creative widespread non-compliance. For example, a state could get permission to upgrade an overloaded highway by adding HOV lanes kept separate by only signs and paint, upgrade road capacity, and then quietly quit enforcing the law against driving in the HOV lane without passengers. No official notice is necessary. Drivers would see other drivers getting away with using the HOV lanes and pretty soon everyone would ignore the signs and paint. The traffic congestion gets solved by a wider highway and useless federal government officials get to claim that HOV lanes fixed the problem. Win-win!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The way to deal with the EPA is to ignore it. They disapprove of your project? That's nice; you can disapprove, but we'll go right on building. They send a judge's order to cease and desist? Ignore it. They send armed agents? Dare them to fire on Americans working at their trades. The president sends troops? The same.

Is there risk? Yes. Is there any other way? No -- and the myrmidons of the Omnipotent State know it.

"Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they have been resisted with either words or blows, or with both." -- Frederick Douglass
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You don't hear much about civil disobedience from conservatives lately - but it does seem to be the equal and opposite reaction to government by fiat, lack of transparency, and lack of public deliberation. Obama won the Presidential election - but that's all. He certainly didn't win the right to unilaterally disregard Constutitional checks and balances.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Conservatives know we can't gin up the numbers to protest like democrats can - because they pay professional protestors to attend theirs and conservatives are the ones that actually have jobs they go to everyday.

The only way conservatives can fight back is by noncompliance - but even that won't get any media attention.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You know that summer trip you had planned, taking the kids to Disneyland. You will have to get EPA approval for driving or flying there. Which you probably won't get, since driving and flying are bad for the environment. Except when Air Force One is used to take the Obama girls down to the Bahamas for Spring Break. That's different ! Anyway, you will have to apply to the EPA, and you can't do it online, since the local power plant is closed due to it's environmental damage. So you will have to go to DC to even apply. But you don't have a permit to drive there, so you will have to walk. Does the name Khmer Rouge sound familiar?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Democratic self-government does not work, according to Plato, because ordinary people have not learned how to run the ship of state. They are not familiar enough with such things as economics, military strategy, conditions in other countries, or the confusing intricacies of law and ethics. They are also not inclined to acquire such knowledge. The effort and self-discipline required for serious study is not something most people enjoy. In their ignorance they tend to vote for politicians who beguile them with appearances and nebulous talk, and they inevitably find themselves at the mercy of administrations and conditions over which they have no control because they do not understand what is happening around them. They are guided by unreliable emotions more than by careful analysis, and they are lured into adventurous wars and victimized by costly defeats that could have been entirely avoided."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
our leaders know this, and they use it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When Nixon created EPA we needed it badly. In the 40 years since it grown into a communist infest monstrosity that need killing. Start over.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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