The Heat Is On: Global Warming And The EPA (Part 4) – Guest Essayist: Phil Kerpen
THE CZAR BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Driving the implementation of the EPA’s massive power grabs and circumvention of the legislative branch was a key White House official who avoided Senate confirmation by being installed as White House Energy Czar: Carol Browner.
The potential Senate confirmation fight Obama sidestepped by creating a czar position for Browner would have likely centered on her membership on the board of the Socialist International Commission for a Sustainable World Society.24 Browner was listed as one of 14 members of the commission on its website as recently as January S , 2009-the day she was named Obama’s White House energy czar.25 This commission pursues an openly socialist agenda of centralized control under a regime of global governance that would enforce extreme environmental political correctness globally. The commission’s views on global warming are, to say the least, extreme. Commission statements from the time Browner served include:
- “Global governance is no longer a concept but an urgent “26
- “A global system for monitoring and forecasting climate change, an international rescue service, an international center to design new industrial constructions ecologically, should be set “27
- “Measures against climate change in every country will inevitably have to include a change in life style and a substantial reduction of greenhouse gases. The use of flexible mechanisms should be limited.”28
Browner is a longtime Washington insider who previously served as Al Gore’s legislative director and as the administrator of the EPA for all eight years of Bill Clintons presidency 29 Browner was on the board of Podesta’s Center for American Progress.30 She also worked for Podesta on the Obama transition team, chairing the energy and environment policy working group.31 Her ideas-the ideas of the Socialist International Commission on a Sustainable World Society are likely shared by President Obama, who appointed her.
In 1998, long before Massachusetts v. EPA, Browner, as Bill Clinton’s EPA administrator, had her general counsel, Jonathan Z. Cannon, prepare a now-infamous memorandum arguing-for the first time-that the EPA possessed the power to adopt sweeping economy-wide global warming regulations without an act of Congress.32 At the time it was dismissed as a wild-eyed overreach that Congress would never allow. Now it’s happening. We have national greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act for cars and light trucks. And it was Browner, an unconfirmed White House czar, who made it happen.
Mary Nichols, the chair of the California Air Resources Board, told The New York Times that Browner was the lead White House negotiator in establishing new automobile emissions standards. California had been threatening to adopt its own, more expensive standards, and the EPA had previously denied the states requests. Now the White House was playing ball, secretly adopting expensive, California-style regulations nationally via the Congress-sidestepping legal theory Cannon had argued for a decade before.
But unlike previous vehicle mileage requirements (legally, but at a great cost to consumers) enacted by Congress under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy law, these standards were created administratively, relying on the EPAS asserted authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the 1970 Clean Air Act.
Nichols told The New York Times that Browner “quietly orchestrated” the secret negotiations between the White House, regulators, and auto industry officials. “We put nothing in writing, ever,” Nichols said.33
To make matters worse, the already costly new automobile regulations, negotiated in secret by Browner and Nichols, are now set to be ratcheted up to absurd levels. In October 2010 the EPA issued a “Notice of Intent” to adopt, new standards on automakers to ensure that, fleetwide, their cars get 62 miles per gallon by 2025, up dramatically from the current mandate of 35.5 mpg by 2016. No cars on the road are anywhere close to 62 mpg. As Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute, a leading libertarian think tank, has pointed out, even the highest mileage vehicle now on the market, the third generation Prius, gets no more than 50 mpg, and its vehicle weight is too high to ever get much more than that.34
The only vehicles that could ever meet this hypothetical 62 mpg standard would be tiny, underpowered, electric vehicles that consumers don’t want. And if some larger vehicles were still available for families and workers that need them, that would force small passenger cars to get even higher mileage to average out to 62 mpg. They might as well just shutter the auto industry.
Left unchecked, Browner’s unconstitutional plan will move beyond automobiles to regulate everything that moves-light-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks, buses, motorcycles , planes, trains, ships, boats, tractors, mining equipment, RVs, lawn mowers, forklifts, and just about every other piece of equipment that has a motor, and lots of things that don’t. Any building over 100,000 square feet could be pulled in, along with smaller carbon dioxide emitters, like restaurants, schools, and hospitals that have commercial kitchens with gas burners.35 Because there is no control technology for greenhouse gases, the EPA would require complete redesigns and operational changes. This is all part of the EPA’s staggering 18,000-page blue print for regulating the U.S. economy.36
MEET THE NEW ENERGY CZAR
After the 2010 election, Carol Brow ner pushed for a promotion to deputy White House chief of staff and even, apparently, the chief of staff job itself.37 Given her controversial past, the White House decided, sensibly, not to promote her and she resigned as czar. Curiously, the announcement was made not by Browner herself or by official White House staff, but by Podesta, who said: “There was a feeling it was time to move on …It’s a loss. I hate to see her go.”38 Podesta’s lead global warming strategist at the Center for American Progress, Dan Weiss, said the White House was losing the “all-star quarterback of President Obama’s green dream team.”39
The Obama administration moved quickly to allay their r concerns, promoting Browner’s top deputy, Heather Zichal, to the climate czar role. Zichal, a former John Kerr y staffer, holds the same extreme views and is committed to continuing the same extreme agenda. She said: “We’re maintaining staff, the same focus and mission that this office has had since the first day of the administration.”40 To paraphrase The Who, meet the new czar, same as the old czar.
Browner’s handpicked administrator, Lisa Jackson, remains at the helm of the EPA. The Jackson/Zichal tea m is without question moving forward on Brow ner’s Socialist International agenda-and Brow ner herself, like Podesta, will continue to exert enormous influence even after officially leaving the administration.
Browner, predictably following in the footsteps of former green jobs czar Van Jones, announced her return to Podesta’s Center for American Progress on April 19, 2011.41
The first regulations for large industrial facilities came into effect at the beginning of 2011 for major modifications. They are set to expand to include new construction later in the year, and will be expanded over time until, eventually, they could paralyze the American economy. 42 One of the first effects, of course, will be the skyrocketing energy prices that President Obama desires.
One EPA official, Anna Marie Wood, has let slip that the EPA in tends to adopt cap-and-trade itself as part of its Clean Air Act regulations.43 My Americans for Prosperity colleague James Valvo analyzed precisely how the EPA intends to implement cap-and-trade, mainly by adopting emissions trading requirements as a control technology and forcing states to amend the Clean Air Act State Implementation Plans to include cap-and-trade. Valvo concluded:
The idea of turning to the agency state to accomplish the same goals that the people’s congressional representatives refused to make law runs afoul of the nation’s democratic principles. Unfortunately, it appears that cap-and-trade advocates are less concerned with preserving these institutional checks-and-balances than they are with pushing hard to get the scheme enacted.44
Hold on to your wallet.
Phil Kerpen is head of American Commitment and a leading free-market policy analyst and advocate in Washington. Kerpen was the principal policy and legislative strategist at Americans for Prosperity for over five years. He previously worked at the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute. Kerpen is also a nationally syndicated columnist, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book “Democracy Denied.
Excerpt provided by BenBella Books.
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