To the editor:
Last week’s Supreme Court ruling chastising the EPA for overreach in regulating greenhouse gases represents a most welcome (and rare) pushback against increasingly intrusive executive branch dictatorship in our nation.
Unable to convince Congress to dismantle the electric power industry through hopelessly naïve “cap and trade” legislative action, President Barack Obama had attempted an end run around the Congress by directing his EPA water boys to effectively rewrite the Clean Air Act.
As written, this act covers pollutant emissions of as little as a few hundred tons per year. However, by “tailoring” the Clean Air Act to effectively define greenhouse gases as pollutants, the EPA then had to arbitrarily increase the CO2 standard to 100,000 tons per year or every small business and school in the country would be forced to comply.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court did not view this gross distortion of existing law as mere “tailoring” when they ruled: “An agency has no power to ‘tailor’ legislation to bureaucratic policy goals by rewriting unambiguous statutory terms.”
The ruling is absolutely on target and represents a meaningful attempt to at least restore some semblance of separation of powers within the federal government.
Taking a cue from the court’s intentional inclusion of the word “unambiguous,” the legislative branch might do us all a favor in the future by writing enabling legislation which is in fact “unambiguous” enough to forestall the type of game-playing favored by the current administration.
As Charles Krauthammer recently suggested, Congress could have easily put an end to the current EPA nonsense by simply stating the Clean Air Act does not apply to CO2 emissions.
David A. Nealy