Emails between top Environmental Protection Agency officials reveal they saw their fight against global warming as putting them at “forefront of progressive national policy.”
“You are at the forefront of progressive national policy on one of the critical issues of our time. Do you realize that?” former EPA chief Lisa Jackson asked former EPA policy office head Lisa Heinzerling in a Feb. 27, 2009 email.
“You’re a good boss. I do realize that. I pinch myself all the time,” Heinzerling replied that same day to Jackson, who was using an alias email account under the fake name “Richard Windsor.”
These emails, which were part of a batch obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, show what top EPA officials were thinking as the agency prepared to release its greenhouse gas endangerment finding. which would give the agency the power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes and, eventually, from power plants.
“This is not about climate,” CEI senior fellow Chris Horner told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is the progressive agenda.”
“Our laws don’t always shine to being used as pretenses for ideological agendas; this is plainly in the name of climate, but Obama has said it is to finally make renewables profitable,” Horner added.
Indeed, EPA rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions will have little to no impact on global warming since developing countries, like China and India, will continue emitting, thus negating any actions taken in the U.S.
President Barack Obama and the EPA have also sold recent greenhouse gas emission limits on power plants as being necessary to promote green energy and essential for social justice.
“The great thing about this proposal is that it really is an investment opportunity,” current EPA chief Gina McCarthy told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in July. ”This is not about pollution control.”
“It’s about increased efficiency at our plants. It’s about investment in renewables and clean energy,” she added. “It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units.”
“Carbon pollution standards are an issue of justice,” McCarthy told environmentalists on a phone conference in August. “If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change.”
Heinzerling played an integral role in convincing the Supreme Court in 2007, which said the EPA could regulate greenhouse gas emissions if they represent a threat to public health and welfare. The EPA made this determination less than one year after Obama took office.
“Our auto task force subgroup meeting went very well. The purpose of the meeting was to hear from EPA and DOT [Department of Transportation] on our plans for mobile sources,” Heinzerling wrote to Jackson on Feb. 27, 2009 — about 10 months before the EPA released its endangerment finding.
The first source the EPA sought to regulate was greenhouse gases from vehicle tailpipe emissions, a rule which was finalized in May 2010 and forced light-duty vehicles to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In November 2011, the EPA clamped down on emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
In 2012, the Obama administration unveiled even stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles.
Apparently, these mobile source rules were only the beginning of a “progressive national policy” by the Obama administration. But Heinzerling would not be in the administration to help see it through, as she left the EPA in at the end of 2010 to return to Georgetown University as a law professor, according to Politico.
After emissions from mobile sources were regulated, they began to focus on greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources, especially power plants. In 2013, the EPA issued its first-ever greenhouse gas emissions rules for new power plants. The rules have been criticized for harming the coal industry.
The EPA’s new power plant rule sets greenhouse gas emissions limits so low that even the most efficient coal-fired power plant cannot meet the standard on its own. To come into compliance, new coal plants would have to install carbon capture and storage technology, but such equipment is not a commercially proven technology.
This past summer, the EPA doubled down on its power plant regulating binge and proposed greenhouse gas emissions limits for power plants already in operation. The rule has been extremely controversial, with opponents saying it will raise electricity prices and force more power plants to shut down.
“The EPA’s war on coal has troubling economic implications for every American and U.S. business,” wrote Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly in The Wall Street Journal. “As the new regulations take effect, Americans could see their electric bills increase annually by more than 10 percent — $150 for the average consumer — by the end of the decade.”
Environmentalists and the Obama administration say the rules will improve public health and prove the U.S. is serious about fighting global warming.