Probably the most important environmental action the Trump administration can take is to eliminate the Endangerment Finding (EF). The EF was used to have CO2 and several other so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs) inserted in the Clean Air Act. That action has allowed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enact regulations without any input from Congress. Giving the EPA free reign has given the radicals in that Department the leverage to try to regulate fossil fuels out of existence.
As recently as 30 January this year, just a little over a month ago, EPA Director Pruitt said in a Congressional hearing that he was reviewing a challenge to the EF. Red teams, blue teams and all that but not one to my knowledge has been formed. Nothing seems to be getting done. It is over a year ago that the Pruitt was named Director.
Posting of that hearing by USA Today, reported:
“Pruitt spent much of the hearing touting some of the priorities he sees as important: aggressively cleaning up Superfund sites, modernizing water systems tainted by lead and cleanup of abandon mines.”
Good objectives but minor league compared to the EF. And that list of his priorities will eventually be done as both parties want them done. He needs to concentrate on getting things done that the Democrats will not do if they get back in power.
As legislation may be required to really kill off the EF, after the upcoming midterm elections he may find he has less Republican support than he has now. I recommend that they use the nuclear option and go with 51 votes in the Senate. Trump could hold off changes if the Dems have major success in the midterms by his use of the veto.
The EF was assembled when the Supreme Court said if the country was endangered by GHGs it could be added to the Clean Air Act. The EPA did not do any research of their own but rather relied upon the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued reports on GHGs. The IPCC was commissioned to show how CO2 and other GHGs were forcing the Earth’s climate on a path that would lead to a catastrophic result. The outcome of the EPA’s study was never in doubt. The EPA told the court that GHGs were endangering the nation and just like that it was law.
Bad move by the Court. Stepping all over Congress’s prerogative of legislation as defined in the Constitution. Congress had thoroughly considered CO2 and rejected its inclusion at the time the Clean Air Act legislation was passed.
The EPA did ask for comments, but skeptic comments were ignored. At that time the global temperatures were not rising even though CO2 and other GHGs were rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. As the years go by the rationale for the EF continues to be falsified. Global temperature has risen slightly, probably due to natural causes, but the rise is well below the IPCC predictions.
I have a friend on the inside and he says that the EF is on the schedule. He says examination of the case for dropping the EF should be complete in 2019. And yes, it might be too late to pass legislation to remove it from the Clear Air Act, but that a new President would have to make the argument that there is a danger and he doubts that that can be done.
Next posting will look at the how the ER endangers the USA
Your article is spot on, but the broader issue is the standing court decision of Auer v. Robbins as it applies to ALL agencies being able to interpret and re-interpret their own codes & standards.
This is a LOT bigger than the EPA, although I think Scott Pruitt is just slow-walking the Endangerment Finding by not pursuing it.
The Supreme Court just needs the proper case presented to overturn Auer v Robbins.
Scalia was itching to do so and I wonder if that’s what got him killed.
Discussion of Auer v Robbins:
Sent from my iPhone
Dick You are well schooled.
If there ever was a bill that represented all of the bad features of the subsequent regulations, it was Obamacare. Pelosi was on target when she said that we would have to wait till it passed to see what was in it. It took Obama at least three years to write the regulation for that awful mess. And he really stretched the rule book because he contradicted the statute as written when he made up some of his regs.
Although I picked on Obama care, Congress is notorious for legislation that is a picnic for regulators. And oversight that should be applied by Congress is often (perhaps more often than not) missing.
The Endangerment Finding legitimized the inclusion of the GHGs in the Clean Air Act statute—-a belated and controversial addition however. The regulations emanating from the statute, while breathtaking, were based upon the Court directed requirement that there was a scientific finding that justified the inclusion of the GHGs and that was the Endangerment Finding.
So if you can demonstrate that the scientific finding was filled with errors and in light of the current scientific understandings is no longer viable, even under Auer, deference is not given to the regulation if it is plainly erroneous. That has to be the our best route and it should be successful.
I do agree with you, elimination of Auer or at least narrowing its scope would be welcome.