Who really pays for cutting back rules limiting toxic emissions?

President Donald’s administrative minions, since day one, have been “reviewing” federal regulations they argue are so costly they curtail growth in American manufacturing, and worse, put American jobs at risk. Thus they are focusing on rules that govern environmental reviews in permitting processes and regulate impacts on worker health and safety.

Pollution Free ZoneIndustry groups oppose one particular regulation — the rule tightening ozone emissions under the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

According to a Reuters story by David Lawder, “The National Association of Manufacturers said the EPA’s review requirements for new sources of emissions such as factories can add $100,000 in costs for modeling air quality to a new facility and delay factory expansions by 18 months.”

According to Lawder, “Several groups argu[ed] this would expose them to increased permitting hurdles for new facilities, raising costs.” [emphasis added]

Continue reading

You have to be OK with a lot of awful stuff to vote for Donald Trump

You don’t have to believe everything Donald Trump does to vote for him, but you do have to be OK with everything he believes and everything he’s done.

Image Credit: DiversityInc.com

Image Credit: DiversityInc.com

You don’t have to be a liar to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with lying.

You don’t have to be a hypocrite to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with hypocrisy.

You don’t have to enjoy mocking the disabled to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with other people mocking the disabled.

You don’t have to be a narcissist to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with narcissism.

You don’t have to be an adulterer to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with adultery.

You don’t have to be a misogynist to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with misogyny.

You don’t have to be a sexual assaulter to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with sexual assault. Continue reading

Supreme Court “Friend of the Court” brief challenges EPA’s climate change, greenhouse gas regulations

Playing fast and loose with both climate science and logic in a Supreme Court brief is a good way to destroy your own credibility.

CATEGORY: ClimateClick here for the other posts in this series

In June, 2012, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruled that the Clean Air Act permitted the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) as pollutants. Multiple industry groups and states appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court in March, 2013, and the Court agreed to hear part of the appeal in October, 2013. Specifically, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on whether or not the Clean Air Act automatically required the EPA to regulate stationary sources like power plants as a result of the EPA finding that motor vehicles were a source of pollution. The Court refused to hear arguments on whether or not the EPA had the authority to find greenhouse gases a pollutant, or to regulate them as pollutants.

Even though the Supreme Court refused to hear arguments related to the EPA’s science-based endangerment finding, a group of 12 self-described “experts” submitted a Brief of Amici Curiae, also known as a “Friend of the Court” brief [hereafter “the brief”], to the Court on December 16, 2013. The brief asks the Supreme Court to overturn the DC Appeals Court ruling and the entire endangerment finding even though the Court refused to hear arguments on those issues. Continue reading

DC appeals court ruling will prove difficult to overturn, largely ignored by conservatives

Part five of a series.

On June 26, 2012, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) greenhouse gas regulations were in accordance with the Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court’s 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA ruling. But more than that, the appeals court so strongly worded their opinion, and based it so firmly in long established court precedents and the Supreme Court’s own ruling that it will be very difficult to overturn. These facts were largely ignored by the Attorneys General of the states of Texas and Virginia, and the vast majority of prominent conservative think tanks and conservative media outlets simply ignored the ruling altogether.

The Court’s opinion is very strongly grounded in existing precedent. The court relied on many old precedents that have guided court decisions regarding the Clean Air Act since its inception in 1970. Continue reading

Appeals court finds arguments against EPA's greenhouse gas Tailoring Rule illogical

Part four of a series.

On June 26, 2012, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejected 26 separate requests by various states and industry groups to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations. The Court found that the Endangerment Finding was well supported by the scientific facts and that the Clean Air Act compelled the EPA to regulate motor vehicle and stationary source emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). But the Court also found that the states and industry groups failed to establish their legal standing to request that a third component of the regulations, the EPA’s Tailoring Rule, be overturned.

The Tailoring Rule is the EPA’s attempt to relieve the “overwhelming permitting burdens” that would be caused by immediate full enforcement of the Clean Air Act’s statutory thresholds. Continue reading

DC appeals court says EPA's interpretation of Clean Air Act "unambiguously correct"

Part three of a series.

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found in 2009 that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles was a threat to public health and welfare, that Endangerment Finding set into motion a set of statutory compulsions that led first to new regulations on motor vehicles and then to new regulations on power plants, cement kilns, and other major stationary sources of GHGs. As a result a significant number of states and industry groups collectively filed 26 independent petitions to the federal courts seeking to overturn these regulations. The states and industry groups focused first on the Endangerment finding itself, but as we saw yesterday, they were rebuffed by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

However, the states and industry groups didn’t rely exclusively on attacking the Endangerment Finding. They also argued that the EPA incorrectly interpreted the Clean Air Act with respect to regulating motor vehicle emissions. And they also made several different arguments in an attempt to convince the court that the phrase “any air pollutant” didn’t actually mean “any air pollutant.”

In every instance the court disagreed. Continue reading

DC appeals court rejects attacks on EPA's greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding

Part two of a series.

On June 26, 2012, a three judge panel of the DC Court of Appeals ruled against 26 legal petitions by states and industry groups that had sought to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations. The Court’s Opinion (hereafter “the Opinion”) found that “the Endangerment Finding is consistent with the Massachusetts v. EPA and the text and structure of the CAA, and is adequately supported by the administrative record. [emphasis original]”

The Opinion focused on three main arguments made by the petitioners. The first, discussed below, was that the EPA erred when it found that GHGs were a “reasonable threat to public health and welfare” as defined by the Clean Air Act (CAA in quotes from the Opinion). In the Opinion, the appeals court found that the EPA had correctly interpreted the Clean Air Act, Continue reading

Historical context behind the court ruling that the EPA may regulate greenhouse gases

Part one of a series.

On June 26, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against various states and industry groups who had asked the Court to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) greenhouse gas regulations. The 26 petitions specifically asked the Court to do one of two things – either overturn the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases posed a risk to public health and welfare (aka the “Endangerment Finding”), or block enforcement of any regulations based on that Endangerment Finding. A three judge panel led by a Reagan appointee unanimously dismissed the arguments made in the 26 petitions for lack of merit or lack of legal standing. (Ed. Note: Some of the legal terms used in this post are defined at the bottom of the post.)

Over the next several days, S&R will be publishing a series of articles on this opinion, starting with some background on what led up to the June 26 opinion. Continue reading

Good week in the courts for the Obama Administration

It’s been a good week in the federal courts for the Obama Administration.

On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency – and against a legion of state Attorneys General and industry groups – on the EPA’s greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding. The states and industry groups had asked the appeals court to overturn the Endangerment Finding based on a host of arguments ranging from “there’s too much uncertainty in the science” to “the EPA abused its authority” to “the EPA misread the Clean Air Act.” The court disagreed, emphatically and occasionally sardonically, and dismissed every one of 26 separate petitions that the various states and industry groups had filed. S&R is analyzing the 82 page opinion in detail and will be publishing several posts about it in the coming weeks.

And today, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. Continue reading

Daily Caller's editor repeats falsehoods and half-truths about EPA's illusionary 230,000 new workers

Yesterday I reported on an article in The Daily Caller that turned reality on its head by claiming that the EPA’s attempt to avoid hiring 230,000 new employees to administer greenhouse gas (GHG) emission permits was actually the EPA planning to hire those employees. As I pointed out, the article had enough major errors that it needed either significant corrections or a full retraction.

Today the executive editor of The Daily Caller, David Martosko, attempted to justify the original article in an editorial. However, Martosko’s failed defense of an indefensible article means that The Daily Caller now has two articles that are so filled with errors and misrepresentations that they should be corrected or retracted entirely. Continue reading

No, Matthew, there won’t be 230,000 new EPA jobs, so correct your article accordingly (update)

[See update at the end of the post]

The devil is always in the details. Which may explain why Matthew Boyle of The Daily Caller got his details and facts all twisted up when he wrote that the EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations would force the EPA to grow by 230,000 employees. Boyle got this information out of an EPA court filing submitted on September 16 in a case involving the EPA’s authority to tailor regulations to major emitters of GHGs instead of to every emitter of GHGs.

Media Matters for America initially discovered the error and pointed out that the EPA avoided hiring an additional 230,000 employees to administer the GHG regulations. Yet Boyle, Fox News, and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) all got that critical point wrong. Continue reading

Milloy's latest climate op-ed riddled with errors

Today, the Washington Times ran an op-ed by science-denier-for-hire Steve Milloy titled “2012 GOP guide to the climate debate.” Based on the number of errors and irrelevancies masquerading as serious concerns I discovered while reading it, the Washington Times should have titled the op-ed “How to lie to voters about climate disruption.”

Here’s a brief rundown of all the problems I found. I’ll be dealing with a few of the worse errors in greater depth in a follow-up post.


  1. “Al Gore and his enviros duck debating so-called ‘climate skeptics.'” – So debates like Dessler vs. Lindzen or Lambert vs. Monckton don’t count? It’s true that debates like these are rare, but that’s because debating a climate disruption denier is about as effective as debating evolution with a young-earth creationist or a proponent of “intelligent design.”
  2. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: Climate disruption will disrupt volcanism too



Nature News reported last week that vulcanologists have concluded that climate disruption will increase the number of volcanic eruptions. According to the article, the reason is that climate disruption is expected to reduce the amount of ice present atop volcanoes and thus reduce the amount of material keeping volcanoes from erupting. Continue reading

S&R interviews PCAP's Bill Becker, Part 2

Yesterday we introduced you to Bill Becker and heard all about PCAP’s policy suggestions. Today we focus on some of the nuts and bolts of weaning the United States off of carbon, specifically cap-and-trade, cap-and-auction, and carbon taxes.

S&R: John Podesta said today [at the Energy and Climate Change roundtable] that the process of decarbonizing, of getting ourselves off of fossil fuels, would be a massive and breathtakingly difficult process for our country and the world. How will PCAP help the President and Congress convince the American people that decarbonizing our economy won’t be too difficult to undertake at all?

Bill Becker: Well, a couple of things. John is right, this is going to be a massive undertaking. We’ve got 200 years of a fossil economy that we need to reinvent, and we need to do it on a dime – turn on a dime. And we need to do it as a global community instead of as one country. And we don’t have a czar who can impose this on us – the democratic process is frustrating to say the least. So it’s a huge undertaking. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic

In 1990, Congress revised the Clean Air Act to enable utilities to use market efficiencies to lower sulfur dioxide (SO2)pollution from power plants. In response to this cap-and-trade system, utilities have reduced SO2 pollution by 30% more than the federal government required. A similar mechanism has been suggested for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Earlier this month the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their analysis of three alternatives to reducing CO2 emissions, and their conclusion was that a carbon tax was the most efficient method, not the oft-touted cap and trade system. However, as is so often the case, the devil is in the details, rather than in the executive summary. Continue reading