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New year, old tricks from EPA

on Tuesday, 19 January 2016. Posted in Opinions

As we begin a new year, one would hope that the Obama administration made a new year’s resolution of allowing congress to do its job and not allowing unelected bureaucrats to regulate through administrative fiat. However, it seems this year will be full of even more federal overreach and this administration making up the rules as it goes.

Over the last few years, we have seen the Environmental Protection Action (EPA) repeatedly take unprecedented action by forcing reckless, unlawful and job-killing rules on consumers, families and businesses. Sadly, what they claim is an effort to better our environment is simply an overzealous plan which will severely hurt our economy by cutting jobs and driving up utility rates.

The EPA at this point should stand for the Eliminate Prosperity Agency, because that’s exactly what it’s doing. As a nation we should be encouraging businesses to thrive rather than force them to shut down due to outrageous compliance costs. Driving up utility costs will only hurt our families – electricity shouldn’t become an expensive luxury, not in a country as plentiful as ours.

EPA regulations such as the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule, Section 111(d) Rule, Section 111(b) Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards contain illegal and unfounded regulations that will bankrupt our economy. In June of 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed with a number of states, including South Carolina, by rejecting the proposed rules which regulate how power plants cut mercury emissions and other air pollutants.

The court said the EPA must reconsider the rules because it didn’t take into account industry costs before deciding to adopt them. This was a major win in the lengthy battle against this administration as they continue to show zero regard for the wallets of families across the country.

The WOTUS rule specifically is extremely frightening. It would greatly expand the scope and boundless definition of “Waters of the U.S.” In fact, we could really consider it LOTUS, “Lands of the U.S.”, as this would be a land grab. It would result in small roadside ditches on private property falling under these burdensome federal regulations.

Even further, this expansion would bring many small ponds on family farms, water features on golf courses and storm water systems under scrutiny. It’s not rocket science; drainage ditches aren’t navigable waters. This is why I have joined with Attorneys General from across the nation on multiple occasions to fight back against the federal government’s ridiculous overreach.

Luckily, we’ve seen victories along the way, such as the nationwide stay granted against the implementation of the WOTUS rule. The EPA may think that they can circumvent the law; however attorneys general stand ready to act when necessary to protect the integrity of our nation and defend the rule of law. The best of intentions can also carry unintended consequences.

I agree that the environment must be properly protected through sound regulation and laws passed through constitutional processes. Still, these regulations or laws must balance between practical steps to keep it clean, allowing businesses to operate and expand, while also protecting consumers. In the last year of this administration, we have seen countless rules forced through executive fiat which are unconstitutional and unlawful.

The cause for this is simply that the President knows ideas, such as a carbon tax, are terrible ideas. This is why he has waited until the end of his administration to introduce them. Even a “moderate” carbon tax of roughly $25 per ton would reduce the income of a family of four by $1,900 per year and cause gasoline prices to rise about 50 cents per gallon.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that because lower-income Americans pay a greater percentage of their income towards energy costs, the impact on them would be even greater – equivalent to a new 10 percent income tax.

At the end of his presidency with nothing left to lose politically, his administration is throwing the constitution out the window and implementing rules and regulations which would have devastating effects on our economy.

This is yet again an example of the Obama Administration’s disregard for the rule of law and the well-being of the American people. Along with my fellow Attorneys General, I’m committed to fighting these actions every step of the way, to prevent unconstitutional overreaches by unelected bureaucrats from disrupting our way of life and family budgets.

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