Monday, July 6, 2015

Op-ed: 
Score One For Our Side
By: Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor / Right Side Patriots on CPR Worldwide Media cprworldwidemedia.net

“EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.” 
- Justice Antonin Scalia's words in the majority ruling on the EPA “unreasonable” interpretation of the 'Clean Air Act'

Finally a decision we can all agree on...a decision against Obama and crew that the media of course has basically ignored...a decision the High Court most assuredly got right...and it's a decision that truly affects us all.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court ruled on the challenge brought by a number of energy industry groups along with Michigan and 22 other states...with the energy and coal industries...much to Obama's chagrin...finally being the big winners. In a 5 to 4* decision, the High Court basically ruled that the administration's attempt...that the EPA's attempt...to regulate the energy industry into kingdom come was NOT worth the cost...especially when the EPA thought it was 'appropriate' to garner $4 million to $6 million in health benefits at a cost of $9.6+ billion as NOT being unreasonable... when simple math tells you that it is.

Unreasonable...very unreasonable...and the justices were wise enough to see this and in their majority decision said that as it stands now the EPA is indeed “imposing great expenses on consumers” and it threatens to put electric utilities out of business. And with Justice Scalia writing that the EPA “unreasonably" failed to consider said costs of regulating toxic emissions from both coal and oil-fired plants...and that the costs to utilities and others in the power sector were ignored as being “irrelevant” even before limits were set when the 'Clean Air Act' was passed decades ago...the Obama administration finally was put in its place.

And know that the 'Clean Air Act' itself was at the heart of the SCOTUS decision. What has been called Obama's landmark 'air quality rule'...a rule that allows the EPA to regulate 'so-called' hazardous pollutants from power plants if the regulation is found to be "appropriate and necessary"...has rightfully been knocked down a peg or two. So even though the administration's lawyers argued that coal and oil-fired power plants were the biggest contributor to mercury contamination of rivers and lakes...and even with their arguing that air pollutants like mercury and arsenic might contribute to birth defects and certain cancers as well as posing other health risks especially for pregnant women and children...they (thankfully) failed to convince the majority of justices that the regulations imposed were "appropriate and necessary.”

Continuing on in his brief for said majority, Justice Scalia added that the EPA “overreached” and that it was NOT “appropriate” nor was it “necessary” to impose billions of dollars ($9.6+ billion) of economic costs in return for just “a few dollars” in health or environmental benefits NO matter that curbing emissions of mercury and other 'so-called' hazardous air pollutants had already begun in April of this year.

And know that the administration's lawyers argued against the decision by claiming that the EPA did NOT initially take costs into consideration because the 'threshold decision' to impose regulations was meant to be based upon public health issues alone, and that once it was determined that the air pollutants from coal and oil-fired power plants did indeed pose a major hazard to public health, the EPA acted accordingly and moved to the next stage of the process as set down under the 'Clean Air Act.' Then in an obvious effort to cover their tracts, the lawyers claimed that the EPA in determining what the limits on these health hazard pollutants should be did somewhat take costs into consideration, but that the consideration was given at a much later stage...at a stage when they wrote the standards that are expected to reduce the toxic emissions by 90% by sometime next year.

Adding that the 'regulatory impact analysis' itself...which includes costs...should have “no bearing on” the determination of whether any and all regulations are “appropriate or necessary,” the administration lawyers of course NEVER once admitted to the EPA either making honest mistakes or to the more likely scenario that the EPA tried to pull the wool over 'We the People's' eyes. And why should they when in the dissent by Justice Elena Kagan said it was enough that the EPA “considered costs” at later stages of the process.

So now with the SCOTUS decision reached the case goes back to the lower courts for the EPA to decide how they will account for the costs and for how they will remedy the costs, but what remains is the 'Clean Air Act' itself and that is quite contentious in nature all on its own.

The 'Clean Air Act' is the federal law 'supposedly' designed to make sure that all Americans have air that is safe to breathe, all while protecting our environment from damage caused by air pollution. What we are NOT being told is that in its own way it helps keep us dependent on foreign oil. And with many U.S. businesses having a hard time 'cost-wise' meeting strict environmental regulations...and with manufacturers spending almost $30 billion per year to comply with sometimes unnecessary environmental regulations...they in turn are put at a disadvantage competitive-wise in the world economy that results in the loss of tens of thousands of U.S. jobs at a time when our American economy can ill afford it.

And in the EPA's establishing of national 'ambient air' quality standards (ambient air is the highest concentration of a specific air pollutant at a particular outdoor location, in a specified unit of time, that is not considered hazardous to humans) for four known key pollutants...carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and total suspended particulates...the EPA was able to set rules to the effect that each and every county in the U.S. (talk about government overreach) had to either be in 'attainment' for a pollutant ('ambient' concentrations being below the federal standard) or be in 'nonattainment' for a pollutant (concentrations above the federal standard). And this translates into meaning that those businesses who pollute in 'nonattainment' counties are subject to stricter regulations...which costs them more...sometimes a lot more... than those businesses who pollute in 'attainment' counties.

And who did these regulations hurt the most...our most important coal industry followed close behind by our oil industry. But then again wasn't that Obama's plan right from the start...I sure think so as over regulating U.S. industries puts many out of business at the same time keeping the 'brethren' in business.

Keeping the 'brethren' in business keeps us dependent on the 'brethren'...so that is this administration's game plan...or was thanks to the SCOTUS getting this one right.

Over regulating the energy and coal industries to the nth degree. For example, in regards to the already hurting coal industry, a fairly new regulation on coal ash was put in place that comes with a whopping $735 million per year price tag. By bowing to environmentalist pressure, the EPA designated coal ash a hazardous waste which allowed them to claim that of the 110 million tons of coal ash produced every year that about 40% of said ash recycled by power plants “on occasion” spills out into the waterways...citing the 2008 spill by the Tennessee Valley Authority in Kingston, Tennessee as an example...while completely ignoring the vast majority of times the ash is disposed of properly. Saying the rule...the regulation...will help prevent future coal ash spills by putting up more safeguards that will “eventually” afford monetized benefits of $289 million per year...the EPA turns a blind eye to the fact that the implementation costs alone of this regulation will cost thousands of coal workers their jobs as well as outweigh the benefits by two and a half times...doing so even using an always given 3% discount rate. And that's according to the EPA's very own data.

Nice huh...didn't think so...and neither did the High Court justices.

And as for the oil industry, sometimes they're hit with double-whammies. For example, individual gas station owners are regulated by each state as well as the EPA. In fact, Florida was one state that implemented new regulations requiring gas station owners to replace existing underground storage tanks with what's called 'double-walled tanks' that can hold gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol. Claiming these 'double-walled tanks' are both critical and necessary to protect the groundwater, what most don't understand is that this replacement can come with a hefty price tag...a price tag as high as $200,000 per gas station owner...meaning those gas station owners who cannot afford to switch their gas storage tanks cannot comply with the regulation so the EPA will force them to close...with the ramifications being that NOT only will the station owners lose their livelihood but it will put even more Americans out of work than there are already.

Also, under the 'Clean Air Act' itself, the Obama administration has put in place a 'supposed' legal requirement that the EPA develop rules for already existing facilities in regards to oil and gas drilling and the methane they release into the air when drilling. Now couple this with even more costly regulations being put upon the electric power plant industry in regards to carbon dioxide emissions...and all because of those who cry wolf about 'supposed' but non-existent climate change...it's the weather folks...it's naturally occurring weather cycles...and NOTHING more.

And again, thankfully, the SCOTUS saw the truth about cost vs. profit...about over regulating industry and businesses to the point of collapse and did the right thing. And while the EPA said in a statement that they would review the court's decision and take "any appropriate next steps" when their review is complete, just know "any appropriate next steps" comes too little too late as this ruling by the SCOTUS...like last weeks rulings on ObamaCare and same-sex marriage...has so been decided... NO matter how much Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his minions stamp their feet, whine, and cry that this time they did NOT get their way.

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* Voting in the majority were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas. The dissenting votes were cast by Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Breyer.

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