On November 15, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency issued a 100-page, highly technical “guidance” document proposing that as of January 2, 2011, large sources of greenhouse gas emissions—such as power plants, steel operations, and petroleum refineries—be required to obtain preconstruction and operating permits limiting their greenhouse gas emissions and to install the “best available” technology to do so. Comments on these new rules are due on or before December 1, 2010, a 14-day period interrupted by the four-day Thanksgiving holiday. And EPA says it will review only comments on technical aspects of the new rule.
Previously, no such permits were needed, and no greenhouse gas limits existed. It is widely agreed such new rules will drive up the costs of electricity, iron and steel, gasoline, and anything else produced by large operations, with these costs passed along to consumers already staggered by a jobless “recovery” from the recession.
This massive new assault on large industries by forcing them to limit their greenhouse gas emissions is illegal and unconstitutional. EPA lacks the legal power to rewrite a statute, which is what it is doing here. Further, EPA is not providing a meaningful opportunity for public comment, as required by the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution.
EPA may be refusing to read comments other than technical ones, but it can’t refuse to accept them. Those outraged by Obama’s out-of-control EPA can submit comments in three ways.
First, comments can be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov, though this process is complicated. Second, comments can easily be submitted by email at [email protected]. Third, comments can be sent by fax to 202-566-9744. In all cases, comments should reference Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0841. Comments don’t have to be long or complicated; it is enough if they are heartfelt.
Ultimately, the courts will untangle the legal issues involved here. Meanwhile, it’s time for another “don’t touch my junk” moment.
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
Chicago, Illinois 60603