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EPA Votes a Mixed Bag

The Environmental Protection Agency’s backdoor regulatory fiat over our economy was unable to be thwarted in the Senate on Wednesday, but there were some optimistic signs located within both the Senate and House votes.

Although none of the EPA greenhouse gas amendments pending in the Senate garnered the necessary 60 votes, altogether 64 Senators voted for at least one of the amendments to rein in the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory agenda.  The Senate Republicans have spoken twice, last year on the Murkowski Congressional Review Act vote and the four amendments on Wednesday. The Obama Administration and the Senate Democrats own every job lost due to the EPA regulations.

Thursday, the House passed H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act by a vote of 255 to 172.  This is a strong bipartisan vote and is a much wider margin than the passage of the Waxman-Markey cap and tax bill on June 26, 2009, which passed 219-212.  Hopefully, this will rebuild momentum after the disappointing outcome in the Senate on Thursday.  Also, as the public becomes more aware of the pernicious effects of the EPA’s administrative overreach, the outcry may push more Democrats in energy producing states to support the Republican legislation.

There were some disconcerting signs, however, as in the Senate, lone Republican Susan Collins voted to give the EPA full discretion to regulate every aspect of our economy.  Apparently, as energy and gas prices soar, the Senator believes that introducing more third party decision making into the energy sector will somehow reduce energy costs for Americans.   Better, is reducing energy costs for the American people even a goal of most our politicians today?

Also, the EPA has thrown off the lodestone of having to proclaim a negligible impact of its regulations and mandates on our economy. Instead, it is attempting to make the argument that its carbon regulating schemes will actually be a net boon to the economy, by creating jobs through business compliance to its regulations. The sheer audacity is unparalleled, as the Weekly Standard shows:

“According to this bureaucratic ethos, purchasing equipment mandated by the government can be "job creating during the period before firms must comply with the rule." Under the EPA's logic, running an industry out of business could also be a boon for bankruptcy lawyers, creating growth in the struggling legal sector.

Arguing that onerous new regulations create jobs is nonsense, of course. If the government makes a business spend more money, that is a cost. The government may or may not have a good reason to make them spend that money. Regardless, what the businesses — and our economy — spend to comply diverts people and capital from other productive uses. To suggest that this is somehow a benefit is duplicitous.”

So overall, the recent votes were a mixed-bag.  While we may have seen an increase in support for common sense legislation, the EPA’s logic behind imposing its will has been unshackled from anything resembling common sense.