On July 11, 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). This document details how the EPA intends to claim unlimited power over the life of every American. It invites public comment on the proposed rules.
This Capitalism Magazine article is the first of a seven part series, which will present six objections to the entirety of the EPA’s proposed rules. The total of our objections–our comments and the EPA site–may be accessed here.
The EPA action follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that defined carbon dioxide as a “pollutant.” This ruling defies logic, nature, and common sense. The Canadian Government has openly declared that carbon dioxide is a vital “nutrient”–without it, plants die. It is a natural compound that we exhale. It has always existed in nature, often at far higher levels than today. If carbon dioxide is a pollutant, then all human life is pollution.
In response, President Bush issued Executive Order # 13432 (May, 2007) directing the EPA, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Energy, “to ensure the coordinated and effective exercise of the authorities of the President and the heads of the [DOT], the Department of Energy, and [EPA] to protect the environment with respect to greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, nonroad vehicles, and nonroad engines . . .”
The EPA’s document starts with a clear warning that using the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 will lead to uncontrollable growth of the agency’s power:
“EPA’s analyses leading up to this ANPR have increasingly raised questions of such importance that the scope of the agency’s task has continued to expand. For instance, it has become clear that if EPA were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act, then regulation of smaller stationary sources that also emit GHGs [Greenhouse Gases] – such as apartment buildings, large homes, schools, and hospitals – could also be triggered. One point is clear: the potential regulation of greenhouse gases under any portion of the Clean Air Act could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land.” (ANPR p. 5)
The ANPR also includes the following, in a comment by the Department of Agriculture:
“many of the emissions are the result of natural biological processes that are as old as agriculture itself. For instance, technology does not currently exist to prevent the methane produced by enteric fermentation associated with the digestive processes in cows and the cultivation of rice crops; the nitrous oxide produced from the tillage of soils used to grow crops; and the carbon dioxide produced by soil and animal agricultural respiratory processes. The only means of controlling such emissions would be through limiting production, which would result in decreased food supply and radical changes in human diets.” (ANPR pp. 66-67)
Under these rules, the EPA will have the power to ration food production, to approve its content, and to control its distribution.
This is only the tip of an iceberg of massive government power that is about to be unleashed against every American. The EPA intends, for instance, to take authority over transportation, including motor vehicle emissions testing, shipping, and railroads, to assume local building permit authority, to set emissions standards for lawnmowers, and to regulate nearly two and a half million buildings with natural gas heating. Farmers with a few dozen cattle will be required to obtain federal permits to work the land once tilled by their great-grandfathers.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Senate is now considering a bill, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007 and 2008: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-2191.This bill will add the following to the powers of the EPA:
1. establish a Climate Registry, a bureaucracy to “collect high-quality greenhouse gas emission data” (Sec 1102)
2. require business owners and operators to submit an “emission allowance” or offset credit for their emissions, with compliance determined by the EPA Administrator, who shall “establish and distribute . . . emission allowances” and set the penalties for non-compliance (Sec 1202). All natural gas emissions will be included (Sec 1204)
3. establish a Domestic Offset Program, to “promulgate regulations authorizing the issuance and certification of offset allowances.” Project owners must “register emissions under the Federal Greenhouse Gas Registry” (Sec. 2402)
4. establish a Carbon Market Efficiency Board, to set the quantity of emission allowances, the period of paybacks for an allowance, the interest rate at which an emission allowance may be borrowed, etc. (Sec. 2602-2604)
5. establish “as a nonprofit corporation without stock, a corporation to be known as the `Climate Change Credit Corporation’,” that “shall not be considered to be an agency or establishment of the Federal Government” (Sec 4201) This “corporation” will hold life and death power over every business in the United States.
The Lieberman-Warner Senate bill, and its equivalent in the U.S. House of Representatives, are not part of the EPA document, and not part of the EPA request for comment. But such legislation is part of the total environmentalist political agenda. It gives us an idea what is coming if we do not make our voices heard and end these plans to destroy our freedom and our lives.
We condemn and oppose all such outrageous attacks on American life, liberty, and property. To make our voices heard, we have transmitted a letter with comments to the EPA. We urge you to do the same.
LETTER TO THE UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Date: September 8, 2008
From: Dr. John David Lewis
Mr. Paul Saunders
To: The Honorable Stephen L. Johnson
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20460
Subject: Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0318
To the Administrator of the EPA and all concerned Americans:
We American citizens oppose categorically the adoption of the rules outlined in this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). We offer six specific comments why these proposals must be rejected on principle. We provide our reasons in the attached paper, “Comments to the EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Ruination.”
1. First and foremost, we oppose these measures on moral grounds. These proposals violate the moral principles affirmed by the American Founders, and instituted in the American limited government: the inalienable right of every individual to his own life, his own liberty, his own property, and the pursuit of his own happiness. These rights are inalienable; they are not contingent on the permission of a federal agency.
2. We oppose these measures on the grounds of natural history, because claims to man-made global warming contradict the evidence from Earth’s past and present.
3. We oppose these measures on scientific grounds, because the assertions of a man-made global warming crisis are opposed by some of the best scientific minds in the world. There is no “consensus” among scientists that man-made global warming is a crisis requiring government intervention.
4. We oppose these measures on logical grounds, because claims to man-made global warming are merely the latest in a century-long series of failed predictions of climate catastrophe, built on emotion and not on reason. These dire predictions have alternated between cooling and warming–cycles that have run parallel to the Earth’s natural climate variations.
5. We oppose these measures on technological grounds, because the destruction of fossil fuels–for which there are no practical alternatives in the short-term–will destroy the industrial development that keeps us alive and allows us to prosper.
6. We oppose these immoral measures on political grounds.
These measures will elevate a federal agency into an unaccountable, autocratic institution with unlimited power over every individual. This is a declaration of war against the fundamental right to liberty recognized in America’s Declaration of Independence.
There is no scientific consensus that claims to a man-made global warming crisis are true. Many scientists have put their careers at risk to disagree. We should demand extraordinary evidence before accepting predictions of impending climate catastrophes. As climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer noted in his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, March 19, 2007, “Given the extreme cost to humanity (especially the poor) that most economists claim will result from the restricting or otherwise penalizing the use of fossil fuels, a guiding principle for accepting claims of catastrophic global warming should be: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Despite this scientific disagreement, and despite the lack of strong evidence, politicians, lobbyists, and environmentalist advocates have fostered the illusion that human responsibility for global warming is a settled issue. The task now, they claim, is solely to implement the laws required to atone for that responsibility. This anti-freedom political consensus is the real danger we face, because the remedies they have assembled against this illusion will have disastrous consequences for billions of people.
This danger is not hypothetical. The governmental actions being planned now are on a scale commensurate with socialist planned economies, and would place the very heart of industrial society–the motive power that keeps its industry beating–under the control of a labyrinthine maze of all-powerful government bureaucracies. Should these proposals be adopted, Americans will face federal controls over minutiae of daily life on a level previously thought intolerable.
It behooves policy planners, scientists, and citizens alike to grasp the horrific consequences of such policies, while they consider the shaky, disputed scientific grounds on which the calls for action are based.
The question at hand is this: shall we, on the basis of arbitrary claims of an imminent climate disaster, intentionally destroy our own freedom and prosperity? For the ever-expanding scope of the EPA proposals is such that the destruction of American freedom will follow inevitably–as will the loss of our prosperity and our well-being.
This is, at root, a moral issue. Is there some sacrifice due by the American people to atone for their own prosperity? We say no! Our prosperity, and the industrial base that provides its material goods, are morally good. Further, the freedom, individual initiative, and rights of every individual on which it is built are good, and worthy of our defense. No issue, scientific or otherwise, can be properly examined and confronted without recognition and protection of that freedom.
The totality of the evidence available to us, on scientific, political, and moral grounds, is unequivocal: the impending disaster is an apparition, conjured up by environmentalists and socialists desirous of ending industrial civilization. Our intellectual task is clear: we must purge the man-made global warming premise from our thinking. But this is not enough. We must also strenuously reject the life-threatening political proposals in this ANPR, the whole of which is designed to codify this apparition into law.
Dr. John David Lewis
Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke University
Senior Semiconductor and Opto-electronics Chemical Process Engineer (Retired)