We’ve always said the EPA’s extra-legal attempt to rewrite the 1970 Clean Air Act to twist it into a greenhouse gas law — cap-and-trade by other means — would be a disaster. Up to now, EPA tried to claim it would only apply permitting requirements to large industrial facilities. Now it is finally telling the truth — that applying the Clean Air Act as written will force permitting for even small commercial facilities, schools, hospitals, churches, restaurants that use natural gas as a cooking fuel, and even larger single family homes.
In a court filing last week, EPA quantified the vast new army of federal bureaucrats it will need to process millions of new permits under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V permitting process. A shocking 230,000 new EPA bureaucrats at a cost of $21 billion — more than tripling the EPA’s total budget. In the filing EPA says it will reach these levels by April 30, 2016.
Based on the historical relationship between the number of federal regulators and private sector employment recently quantified by the Phoenix Center the addition of 230,000 federal bureaucrats would destroy 22.5 million private sector jobs.
The EPA doesn’t have to do this. The EPA and Obama White House have falsely claimed they were ordered to act by the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA, but the court in that case only ruled that the EPA had to decide whether to act based on the language of the statute. The same rationale they offered for phasing the rules in under the tailoring rule — administrative necessity and absurd results — are the valid legal reason they should have declined to act and left the political question of whether to act on greenhouse gases up to Congress.
Since they seem intent on moving forward, Congress must step in and stop them. As soon as possible.