EPA power grabs bypass Congress

coal fired plant

The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to reduce power plants’ carbon-dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030, hoping to win President Barack Obama victory on one of his top climate-change priorities.

But can he do it legally without Congress’ help? It depends on how you define “legally.”

The U.S. Constitution seems to outlaw such unilateral action by the president. The Clean Air Act of 1963 calls air pollution prevention efforts  “the primary responsibility of States and local governments,” so that won’t work, either.

Maybe the Clean Water Act of 1972? It decreed,“It is the policy of the Congress to recognize, preserve and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution,” so that shouldn’t be an option.

But that’s not stopping the Obama administration from manipulating the nation’s environmental laws to benefit his agenda.

A May 29 Associated Press story said the president can use a 2007 Supreme Court ruling giving the Environmental Protection Agency  the green light to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.

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“But that doesn’t mean there won’t be fierce opposition and drawn-out litigation,” the AP wrote. “The government is expecting legal challenges and is preparing to defend the rules in court if necessary.”

The Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling allowed Congress to authorize EPA regulation of vehicle emissions. But the EPA is expanding its authority — with obvious support of the Obama administration — to include facilities such as power plants and refineries.

The EPA was originally designed to work in cooperation with states to protect the environment. But since 2009, it has waged war on the states. In an end-run around the Constitution, the agency has collaborated with environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to implement policies that have little to do with protecting the environment, according to a Capital Research Center report.

The Supreme Court has twice ruled that the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act’s definition of “navigable waters” in its authority was too broad. Now, in another power grab, the agency is trying to bypass congressional approval to redefine “navigable waters.”

This is how we lose our freedoms to an enormous federal government. Agencies are given broad powers to restrict our freedom of movement, our private property rights and — as we’ve seen in the IRS scandal — even our freedom of speech.  Eternal vigilance is freedom’s price.

George Blumel

George Blumel founded and ran businesses, served on boards of public and private companies and until recently, worked as a financial planner. He’s a life-long conservative Republican political activist, starting with the 1964 Goldwater campaign. He and his wife Sandra have lived in South Florida since 1973.

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