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The agency's regulatory onslaught has stopped new power generation.

President Obama is now retrenching after his midterm rebuke, and one of the main ways he'll try to press his agenda is through the alphabet soup of the federal regulators. So a special oversight priority for the new Congress ought to be the Environmental Protection Agency, which has turned a regulatory firehose on U.S. business and the power industry in particular.

The scale of the EPA's current assault is unprecedented, yet it has received almost no public scrutiny. Since Mr. Obama took office, the agency has proposed or finalized 29 major regulations and 172 major policy rules. This surge already outpaces the Clinton Administration's entire first term—when the EPA had just been handed broad new powers under the 1990 revamp of air pollution laws.

Another measure of the EPA's aggressiveness are the six major traditional pollutants that the agency polices, such as ozone or sulfur dioxide. No Administration has ever updated more than two of these rules in a single term, and each individual rule has tended to run through a 15-year cycle on average since the Clean Air Act passed in 1970. Under administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA is stiffening the regulations for all six at the same time.

The hyperactive Ms. Jackson is also stretching legal limits to satisfy the White House's climate-change goals, now that Senate Democrats have killed cap and trade. The EPA's "endangerment finding" on carbon is most controversial, but other parts of her regulatory ambush may be more destructive by forcing mass retirements of the coal plants that provide half of America's electricity.

A case study in the Jackson method is the EPA's recent tightening of air-quality standards for sulfur dioxide. The draft SO2 rule was released for the formal period of public comment last December. Yet the final rule published in June suddenly included a "preamble" that rewrote 40-odd years of settled EPA policy.

The EPA has heretofore measured the concentration of pollutants in the ambient air by, well, measuring the concentration of pollutants in the ambient air. The preamble throws out this sampling and ultraviolet testing and substitutes computer estimations of what air quality might be. The EPA favors modelling because it can plug in the data and assumptions of its choosing, like how often a power plant is running at maximum capacity. Gaming the models will allow the agency to punish states and target individual plants, even if actual measurements show that SO2 is under the new EPA standard.

The EPA is within its legal discretion to reinterpret clean-air laws—but not without any prior warning, and the preamble surprise violates years of case law about federal rule-making. Worse, the agency hasn't gotten around to detailing how the models should be built or how the analysis must be conducted. Without any ground rules for approval, the permits required for any major energy or construction projects can't be issued.

The uncertainty created by the SO2 rule and similar rule-makings has resulted in a near-total freeze on EPA permits, imposing a de facto project moratorium that will last for the next 18 months at minimum. North Dakota, Texas, Louisiana, South Dakota and Nevada are already suing the EPA because of the restrictions they now face on their "ability to permit new sources or expand existing sources," and many more states are expected to join them.

The same goes for the EPA plan to require "maximum achievable control technology" on a plant-by-plant basis to nearly every coal- or oil-fired utility in the country to limit pollutants like mercury. The EPA started writing that rule while the data that will supposedly inform its decision were still being collected. Then there's the upcoming "boiler rule," which the EPA's lowball estimate says will impose $9.5 billion in new capital costs on manufacturers, paper mills, hospitals and the like. There are so many others.

The electric industry in particular is being forced to choose between continuing to operate and facing major capital expenditures to meet the increasingly strict burden, or else shutting down and building replacements that use more expensive sources like natural gas. Either way, the costs will be passed through to business and consumers as higher rates, which is the same as a tax increase. The general consensus is that as much as a third of the U.S. coal-fired fleet will be retired by 2016, costing north of $100 billion—a consensus that includes an important federal advisory agency, as we wrote last month in "The Unseen Carbon Agenda."

Ms. Jackson responded to that editorial in a letter that waved off any criticism of her industrial policy as merely opposition to "common-sense efforts to reduce harmful pollution." And it's true that some of these costs might be justified if they resulted in real environmental improvements like less acid rain.

Yet return to sulfur dioxide: SO2 emissions fell by 56% between 1980 and 2008, despite a 70% increase in fossil fuel-based electric generation over the same period. With current levels so low, the EPA's own 168-page analysis estimates that the direct benefits of the new SO2 regulations will amount to all of $12 million nationwide in 2020. Liquidating the EPA budget would yield better returns.

At least 56 Senators in next year's Congress are on record supporting bills that would freeze the EPA's carbon regulation for a time or strip the agency of its self-delegated powers. But the EPA is still pursuing the same agenda through other means, harming business expansion, job creation and economic growth. A key task for the next Congress will be to start pushing bac
 

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Congress had better start doing it's job and legislating properly, or it will soon become irrelevant. O-BlahBlah will in-effect become 'like a king'.
 

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And remember the Moritorium on drilling that was lifted. Two months later no one is drilling in the gulf. They are changing the rules daily. So all the drilling companies are slowly moving away. Shell, Noble Danny Adkins (the one I am on now) is planning to slide another 20miles south and start drilling in Mexican waters.
 

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Obama and the "Progressives" are anti-capitalists who hate business and profit. They want to see the system replaced with Socialism. The best way for this to happen is for them to strangle business with tons of regulation. This will cause business downturns, job losses, and then cries for help from the voters who will be willing to sell thier liberty to be saved. If the government would just keep their regulatory system in the reasonable zone where business could compete, the economy would be back before you know it.
 

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Obama and the "Progressives" are anti-capitalists who hate business and profit. They want to see the system replaced with Socialism.
The older I get the more often I ask, what's wrong with that? No one should be able to profit and have more money than me, it just isn't fair.
 

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The older I get the more often I ask, what's wrong with that? No one should be able to profit and have more money than me, it just isn't fair.
I got your "fairness" right here. :D
 

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I got your "fairness" right here. :D
:laughing:
What an attitude from the leader of the 'Slacker Party'. :laughing:

On a serious note, I don't know if you've read them, but a couple of good books that support your viewpoint are 'The Road To Serfdom", and "Rules For Radicals".
 

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:laughing:
What an attitude from the leader of the 'Slacker Party'. :laughing:
Are you kidding? Rule one of the Slacker Party is to name call and complain, but never actually do anything about any of the problems. :thumbsup:

I figure the Dems need their version of the Tea Party. I intend to fill that void with the Slacker Party. Just like the Tea Party does for the Pubs, the Slacker Party will congregate people who believe in the core principles of the Democratic Party and have them form local groups to meet, demonstrate and fire up voters for the next election. It should be easy. There are slackers in every corner of America, and virtually every one of them votes Democrat. :partyon:
 

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I hope with that comment you are not serious but are trying to humorous or sarcastic.:huh:
Don't worry. There isn't a serious bone in his body. :devil:
 

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I hope with that comment you are not serious but are trying to humorous or sarcastic.:huh:
:laughing:
You serious? Of course he's being sarcastic. :smack

As for the OP...I've said it before...nothing will change until a new administration takes office.

2013-Real change will lead to an economy turn around and less gubmint interference. :cheers:

That is....unless the Mayans where correct. :lookinup:
 
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