Is EPA Regulation of CO2 a "Power Grab"?
Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK), in Frankly Speaking (3/10/2010), wants to rein in what he calls “the EPA power grab” to limit carbon emissions. That is hardly the case. The Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. EPA, ordered the environmental protection agency to make a determination as to whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant. The EPA has found, based on the best scientific evidence, that CO2 is an endangerment to public health and has moved forward as instructed.
If Congress had acted to develop a sound energy policy and to curb pollution, the EPA would not be forced to act in the matter. Regulation of carbon emissions would fall mainly on the coal industry and would favor a shift to petroleum and natural gas, both abundant in Oklahoma. However, all our Republican Congressmen sat out the process and let the Democrats from coal producing states load up the cap-and-trade bill with perks for coal producing states. Some of leaders see that limiting carbon emissions could be favorable to the Oklahoma economy, but apparently, our elected representatives have not caught on yet.
It is not just about the CO2 or climate change. Along with the 30 billion tons of CO2 we put into the air annually are large amounts of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates, and radioactive isotopes of radon. Those end up in the air, the water, and the food chain. We are now finding mercury in fish and some places have limits on consumption. The oceans are now 20% more acidic and economically important fisheries are threatened. Whether we cap pollution, tax it, or strictly regulate it, something must be done and soon.