The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to plunge headlong down a slippery slope leading to a new world of climate change regulation, a system under which bureaucrats – not our elected representatives – make critical decisions about government policy. The outcome could be devastating not only for the Louisiana energy industry, but also for every small business, manufacturing concern and hardworking family in America.
The EPA has declared current concentrations of greenhouse gases to be harmful to human health and welfare. This puts their control under the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act, a statute that was never intended to take on such a task.
The principal gas in question here is carbon dioxide – which is emitted by every breathing creature and is an absolute necessity for life on earth. Unlike with other, real toxins, this ruling is based not on the direct effect of greenhouse gases, but on their heat trapping qualities.
The current level of GHG concentration the EPA has deemed to be unacceptable is 435 parts per million (ppm). This is below the 450 ppm that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set as a target goal, a standard that is also part of the international Copenhagen Accord. So the EPA has essentially committed the United States to pursuing an emissions reduction strategy that is more aggressive than anyone else’s, even though the problem we seek to address is global in nature and cannot be resolved by one nation acting unilaterally.
The Obama administration is backing the EPA on this, as well as on other backdoor attempts to institute global warming measures that people agree should rightly come from Congress. If their intent is to blackmail legislators into passing controversial environmental legislation – a widely held opinion about their motivation – they could not be playing a more economically risky game.
American businesses will be held to emissions standards that will make it incredibly difficult for them to compete with foreign companies that do not have to play by our self-imposed rules. Industries in other countries – including, but by no means limited to the foreign energy producers that most people feel already play too large a role in our energy supply – will be able to offer their goods and services at lower prices, increasing foreign imports and funneling U.S. jobs to other countries.
Their home nations will be able to grow their economies at a much faster rate, increasing the global greenhouse gas levels that the EPA has commanded us to lower. Our economic performance will wither on the vine, while the worldwide GHG situation worsens and other countries prosper at our expense.
As one would hope, not all members of Congress are taking this lying down. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced legislation that would prevent the EPA from moving forward with this plan, and similar bills are making their way through the House as well. Sens. Landrieu and Vitter were both co-sponsors of Mukowski’s resolution and we would like to thank them and encourage them to work with their fellow colleagues in the Senate on this issue.
It is essential that Congress stand up to the EPA, since it is clear that the Administration has no intentions of doing so. Regardless of individual feelings about the severity of climate change and how it should be addressed, only the most radical environmental activists believe the EPA is on the right track. They need to be reined in before they do damage that cannot be undone.
President, LA Oil and Gas Assoc.