White House disses Supreme Court, kills $2 trillion savings

The Wall Street Journal published new material (sub. required) on the White House’s emasculation of last year’s Supreme Court global warming decision. The court told the EPA that the Clean Air Act requires it to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The White House seeks to nullify that decision by stuffing the EPA document down a memory hole and substituting antithetical language. The WSJ has seen the EPA’s draft document and reports:

The draft … outlines how the government, under the Clean Air Act, could regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from mobile sources such as cars, trucks, trains, planes and boats, and from stationary sources such as power stations, chemical plants and refineries. The document is based on a multimillion-dollar study conducted over two years.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget has asked the EPA to delete sections of the document that say such emissions endanger public welfare, say how those gases could be regulated, and show an analysis of the cost of regulating greenhouse gases in the U.S. and other countries.

The OMB instead wants the document to show that the Clean Air Act is flawed and that greenhouse-gas regulations should be developed under new legislation, several people close to the matter said. The EPA needs to clear a final draft with the White House in order to release the document.

“This is a collision course between the agency and the OMB,” said one person familiar with the document. The OMB “had in mind to lay out a different story that the Clean Air Act is broken and can’t be used to regulate emissions.” The Clean Air Act was originally enacted in 1970 to clean up air pollution and was amended in 1990.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that the Clean Air Act can and should be used to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It ordered the EPA to assess whether GHG emissions endanger public health and welfare. The EPA draft found they did. By deleting that finding and instead asserting that Congress should pass new legislation, the White House is delaying.

The WSJ reported that the EPA draft found that “the net benefit to society could be in excess of $2 trillion.”

America and the world deserve to see the original EPA document, not a Ministry of Truth rewrite.

— Earl K.

Related posts:

  • The CAFE we could have had
  • Bush Administration vs. Everyone Else.

33 Responses to White House disses Supreme Court, kills $2 trillion savings

  1. David B. Benson says:

    We’re toast.

  2. Rick says:

    OUTRAGE ALERT! It’s only 7 more months. It’s only 7 more months. Its only 7 more months.

  3. Tom G says:

    I agree…we’re toast.

  4. We need to seat Bush and Cheney in the docket with the Exxon and Peabody Energy CEO’s at the Trials for Climaticide Crimes Against Humanity.

    If you haven’t seen it, check out this Daily Show coverage of the unopened email.

  5. wittyo says:

    Hi Earl,

    Tks for this catch and doing such a good job re stateside awareness.

    I try follow thro in my patch for the obvious reason that following ignorance in ignorance (otherwise) is exactly what an ignorant R-can o’ worms would want.

    regards.. the above is new site data fyi

  6. Peter Foley says:

    If there is no “Green House driven Temperature change” there is no GHG, thus no need to regulate CO2 emissions. (Deep in the bowels of the EPA is there a All Futures Require a growing EPA Bureaucracy! action plan?)
    Global cooling continues, time to plan some positive Delta- T Geo-engineering?
    I’ll copyright “Ice and Low Water” for you Joe.
    Will lower global temps lead to drought and massive thunder-snows?
    Jerry Pournelle’s Web site has a pointer to the latest factual deconstructions of the AGW mania for the non-fanatic.

  7. Earl Killian says:

    Peter Foley, in logic a statement of the form IF A THEN B where A if false means B can be anything. Therefore your whole statement is pointless.

    If Jerry Pournelle had a real argument against GW, he would publish it in a science journal. He cannot do so because his arguments are bogus like every other denier argument.

  8. Paul K says:

    To say the Clean Air Act can be used to regulate GHGs without adding GHG provisions is nonsense. Why hasn’t the Democratic leadership in the Senate and the House introduced GHG amendments to the Act?

    No matter who was president, a similar document would be prepared with similar time lines. To say otherwise is naive or intentionally misleading. Whether the staff policy section would be included is debatable. In any case, the staff recommendations won’t disappear. I would think you’d be happy Bush has kicked this can down the street and let the next guy deal with it.

    We are a nation of laws, not executive or bureaucratic fiat. The three branches are co-equal. The Supreme Court has acted. The Executive has acted exactly as it should. The Delayer is the do nothing Democratic Congress.

    The apoplectic reaction is unwarranted. After the exposed misrepresenting of solar applications the other day, it is clear that climateprogress thinks it necessary to over sell to make its point.

  9. Paul K says:

    Peter Foley,
    If you’re going to refute the version of the science promulgated here, you have to base your arguments on sources acceptable to the other side. Believe it or not, NASA is the best overall source. Contrarianism is increasing in the peer reviewed literature.

  10. Ed D says:

    Peter Foley,

    Jerry Pournelle is hardly a good reference. He’s a bright and knowledgable chap and has written some enjoyable science fiction but his pontification spreads well beyond the areas in which he can make a useful contribution. I went off him when I read some stuff of his on programming which showed that he didn’t have even a basic understanding of what he was writing about. This cast the rest of his writing into doubt, in my view.

  11. Joe says:

    Paul — NASA is a great source for why human-caused warming is accelerating — and why it’s the greatest threat facing us today. Don’t assert nonsense like “Contrarianism is increasing in the peer reviewed literature” without evidence. We like you, but you don’t get a pass on spreading disinformation.

    Peter: Jerry Pournelle is a poor man’s Michael Crichton.

  12. Earl Killian says:

    Paul K, why would Congress want to add GHG to the CAA when the Supreme Court said they are already covered under as pollution? You say we are a nation of laws, but my complaint is that the White House routinely breaks the law or tears up laws. Congress acted in 1963, 1967, 1970, 1977, and 1990. The Supreme Court says that CAA covers GHG. The President should enforce the law.

  13. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli is shocked, simply shocked at this.

  14. Paul K says:

    If Congress had added provisions to the Clean Air Act specific to GHGs, the structure the OMB says must be in place before proceeding to regulation would already be in place.

    Instead, the Democratic Do Nothings wasted everybody’s time on the impossible to pass, supported by only 38 Democratic Senators BLW bill. Meanwhile 43 Republican Senators have crafted a bill that loves alternatives. If it ever came to a vote it would certainly pass and could even survive a filibuster. The Democrats are the delayers.

    From the beginning the CAA has been amended to to reflect new realities. Congress acted in 1963, 1967, 1970, 1977, and 1990. They should have acted in 2008. There is still time. The Democratic leadership is abrogating the Legislative Branch’s constitutional responsibility by not acting.

  15. Dano says:

    Foley fumblingly (and unwittingly) shows the faulty logic that the denialist industry disseminates (and counts on to dupe enough rubes):

    [step 1] If there is no “Green House driven Temperature change”
    [step 2] there is no GHG,
    [step 3] thus no need to regulate CO2 emissions.
    [unnecessary but good for the I’m-scared-of-everything crowd] a growing EPA Bureaucracy action plan?)

  16. Paul K says:

    By what measurement is human caused warming accelerating? Is it really warming faster now than say 10 or 15 years ago?

  17. Peter Foley says:

    Dano, No temp change= no harmful emissions, thus not a EPA regulated pollutant.

    The EPA, like all organisms wants to grow, damn the side effects on the society it is feeding on.

    Jerry Pournelle didn’t refute the alleged AGW, the posts to his Web paper have. Many of the posts are sites of Peer reviewed publications.

    The “law” grossly simplified, “EPA can only regulate actual pollutants, Not phony one” With out any on going proof of CO2 forced AGW, no Aegis to control CO2 emitters.

    Jerry Pournelle’s dumb ideas out shine your best work Joe, I’d focus more on upgrading your work product and less on criticisms of other’s. His work had a measurable effect on the successful end of the cold war.

    The greens just seem to want more regulation without any factual or legal basis–more water melons, green on the outside and commie red/socialist on the interior.

  18. Paul K says:

    Peter Foley,
    What’s the point of arguing whether CO2 emissions can or should be regulated? That has already been decided.

  19. Jay Alt says:

    The supreme court instructed the EPA to address the GHG issue, which is fully covered by the Clean Air Act, not the OMB.
    I am not a great admirer of lawyers. But the contortions made by the Bush Administration anytime they want to avoid an issue are shameless. And they help me to respect those in the past who’ve upheld and operated within the law, despite disagreeing with aspects of it.

    This could be a chance for EPA Director Johnson to redeem himself.
    Perhaps someone should send him a set of brass cajones.

  20. Sorry about messing up the HTML on the earlier versions of this comment. Could you please delete them and post this instead. (You can delete this comment as well.) Thanks.

    Paul K.

    Have you read Massachusetts vs. EPA? The Court ruled that EPA could avoid regulating GHG emissions only if they determined that there was insufficient evidence to make a ruling on the dangers that they posed.

    As Justice Stevens wrote:

    “Nor can EPA avoid its statutory obligation by noting the uncertainty surrounding various features of climate change and concluding that it would therefore be better not to regulate at this time. If the scientific uncertainty is so profound that it precludes EPA from making a reasoned judgment, it must say so. The statutory question is whether sufficient information exists for it to make an endangerment finding.” [My emphasis]

    The refusal of the Bush Whitehouse to open the EPA email is typical of the abuse of procedural rules by this administration to avoid obeying the law. As the Wall Street Journal (hardly a bastion of liberal thought) article pointed out, the simple truth is that Bush, Cheney and cronies do NOt want to use the already existing provisions of the Clean Air Act because they are opposed to the Clean Air Act itself. Why because it threatens the profits of the only economic class that the Bush Administration cares about.

    For a history of the events leading up to the Wall Street Journal Account see my post at Climaticide Chronicles.

  21. David B. Benson says:

    Paul K — HEre are decadal averages from the HadCRUTv3 global temperature product:

    Here are five-year averages:

  22. Paul K says:

    Steven Kimball,
    The main reason Congress must provide GHG provisions to the Clean Air Act is precisely so the regulations are not subject to the whims of any individual administration.

    David B. Benson,
    Aside from anonymous bloggers being not generally accepted as authoritative at climateprogress, Tamino’s graphs end in 1998. Joe claimed human caused warming is accelerating. None of the measuring organizations show a 21st Century trend equal to that of the last 20 years of the 20th. Global warming hasn’t ended, but it is not accelerating.

  23. David B. Benson says:

    Paul K — Tamino’s averages are complete through the last complete calendar year, 2007 CE.

    I think you’ll agree that the warming acceleated around 1985 CE, or thereabouts. In discussing climate, one has to have a longer term view.

  24. Earl Killian says:

    Paul K, if Congress had added explicit GHG provisions to the CAA, Bush would have simply ignored them anyway. The Bush White House does not consider itself bound by law.

  25. Paul K says:

    If Tamino was a climate scientist, he would express trend in a linear regression. 11 years is usually the minimum. 2008 will likely add to the lengthening temperature stability. The rumor is that June will be negative anomaly in at least one recognized measurement.

  26. Peter Foley says:

    Paul K. Apathy will lead to unneeded regulations, After 32 years of moronic deadly gun control laws in the District of Columbia, citizens are now able to exercise legally the natural right of self-defense.

    As evermore data accumulates refuting CO2 forced AGW, rational actors can prevent another misguided waste of resources and money that are needed for investment in the future and needed regulations of actual harmful emissions.

    Think how many centuries the “dark ages” was extended by the Roman Catholic Churches Canon law regarding usery. Every unneeded law is break on the future wealth creation of all till repealed.

    The quicker the anti-carbon mania is stopped, the quicker we can return to actual issues that need attention instead focusing on the bimbo(phony climate change scare) while the Magicians (Anti-CO2 Soviet) con the world out of trillions directly and indirectly.

  27. Earl Killian says:

    Paul K, do we need rumors here?

  28. Earl Killian says:

    Peter Foley, I’ve seen no data refuting CO2 forced AGW in the peer reviewed literature. The data accumulation you refer to is in the denier blogosphere; it is not science.

  29. Jay Alt says:

    Earl, confusionists like Patrick Michaels and others have been selling the ‘mounting evidence against GW scam’ since at least 1989.

  30. Peter Foley says:

    EK, Raw Data:
    1. Ice areas in the Arctic regions.
    2. Sea level rate change = zero

    [Sorry Peter — but #2 is simply untrue. Substantiate it, or retract it.]

  31. Paul K.

    It does not matter what the law says. If the Bush administration doesn’t want to follow it, it won’t, and that extends all the way to the Constitution itself.

    In Section VI of his opinion, Justice Stevens states that “The statute is unambiguous.”

    “On the merits, the first question is whether §202(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles in the event that it forms a “judgment” that such emissions contribute to climate change. We have little trouble concluding that it does. In relevant part, §202(a)(1) provides that EPA “shall by regulation prescribe … standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines, which in [the Administrator’s] judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” 42 U. S. C. §7521(a)(1). Because EPA believes that Congress did not intend it to regulate substances that contribute to climate change, the agency maintains that carbon dioxide is not an “air pollutant” within the meaning of the provision.

    The statutory text forecloses EPA’s reading. The Clean Air Act’s sweeping definition of “air pollutant” includes “any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical, chemical … substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air … .” §7602(g) (emphasis added). On its face, the definition embraces all airborne compounds of whatever stripe, and underscores that intent through the repeated use of the word “any.”25 Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons are without a doubt “physical [and] chemical … substance[s] which [are] emitted into … the ambient air.” The statute is unambiguous”

    In other words, despite the Clean Air Act being unambiguous Bush’s EPA chose to violate it. What is Congress supposed to do (other than impeach, which they should have done long ago)? How do you write a statute that is clearer than “unambiguous”? Bush’s EPA refused to regulate greenhouse gas not because there was uncertainty, but, quite simply, because they are delayers who wish to do nothing to halt Climaticide.

    By the way, I notice that my link to the Massachusetts vs. EPA Opinion which I gave above is broken. Here with less elegance but more functionality is the correct link:

  32. John Hollenberg says:

    > Bush’s EPA refused to regulate greenhouse gas not because there was uncertainty, but, quite simply, because they are delayers who wish to do nothing to halt Climaticide.

    From the evidence that is now coming out, the problem is not the staff of the EPA. It is the head of the EPA and pressure from the Bush White House (and his refusal to even open the email containing the document from the EPA). The subsequent watering down of their recommendations is now coming to light. See


  33. Paul K says:

    Steven Kimball,
    A couple of things caught my eye in the Stevens opinion. It appears that the decision relates only to auto emissions. It also appears to leave room for the EPA to find a way to justify inaction within the statute as currently written. It appears to expect further litigation in lower courts.