Delaying CO2 Requirements Helps Politicians, but Not Americans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a press release on March 29, indicating that "no stationary sources will be required to get Clean Air Act permits that cover greenhouse gases (GHGs) before January 2011." Regulating greenhouse gases is a top priority for the Obama administration. Cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate primarily due to concerns that limiting energy production through controls on carbon dioxide emissions would lead to higher energy costs for households and businesses, further dragging down an already weak economy.

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Bypassing Congress, the Obama administration finalized a rulemaking process on December 7, 2009 — just ahead of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change — that would require the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of the EPA's unpopular regulation of GHGs has now been conveniently delayed until after the November elections.

No amount of political manipulation delaying the effect of EPA regulations on GHGs can change the fact that the proposed GHG regulations are bad for American consumers and businesses. Virtually every aspect of American life will be impacted by EPA regulation of GHGs, from the cost of heating our homes to prices we will pay for food to the types of vehicles that will be available to motorists. A government that controls energy production and use controls virtually all aspects of the U.S. economy.

EPA regulation of GHG emissions will raise the cost of energy for companies with facilities in the U.S., resulting in more jobs losses to countries like China and India where companies are not subject to this type of energy regulation. Companies that do continue operate in this country will be forced to pass on their increased costs to consumers.

Households will also see their energy bills escalate. The Los Angeles Times reported on March 26 that "The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is planning to boost the electricity bills of its customers by 37% over the next four years as part of its effort to cover steadily rising costs." According to The Times, this announcement came at the same time the city council was debating Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to boost utility rates by 21 percent over the next year to pay for renewable energy.

The proposed regulations by the EPA should not be delayed — they should be killed. Forcing Americans to pay higher energy costs by administrative fiat and excluding a debate in Congress is a bad idea and will make Americans poorer and less free.