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Wilson: On Obama’s Rogue EPA

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A national carbon tax masked as an “emissions marketplace” is one of the few pieces of anti-free market legislation Barack Obama has failed to pass during his first four-and-a-half years in office. Clearly this defeat has irked Obama, who is now attempting to bypass Congress and use his rogue Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose sweeping new regulations on America’s energy industry.

Rather than taxing utilities into submission legislatively, Obama now plans on regulating them to death administratively. To that end, by 2015 Obama’s EPA will unveil strict new limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired facilities under his so-called “Climate Action Plan.” These “Flexible Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants” will be promulgated as state regulations under the auspices of the Clean Air Act.

“You shall ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that you develop approaches that allow the use of market-based instruments, performance standards and other regulatory flexibilities,” Obama’s plan states.

This level of environmental regulatory overreach is unprecedented.

Under the administration of former president George H.W. Bush, the EPA was granted authority to oversee sulphur dioxide emissions trading. However the creation of this “marketplace” was explicitly authorized via amendments to the Clean Air Act — amendments approved by overwhelming majorities of both the U.S. House and Senate.

Meanwhile prior efforts to force the EPA to arbitrarily impose such government-run “marketplaces” — absent congressional approval — have been struck down as unconstitutional.

Obama will never receive congressional support for his carbon dioxide emissions scheme — and he knows it. In fact several members of his own party are already blasting these anti-competitive measures.

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Bill Wilson is a board member of Americans for Limited Government. Follow him on Twitter @BillWilsonALG.