The Obama administration is warning Congress that if it doesn't move to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency will take a "command-and-control" role over the process in a way that could hurt business.
The warning, from a top White House economic official who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity, came on the eve of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's address to the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
If you don't pass this legislation, then ... the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area," the official said. "And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it's going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty
If this were done anywhere but in our government the perpetrators would be arrested for blackmail. Instead, it's happening in our government and it's simply politics as usual. In Chicago, if an alderman doesn't go along with Daley, suddenly the streets in their ward aren't swept. Here we have something on the same variety.
The audaciousness of this statement is stunning. The EPA is demanding that Congress pass cap and trade or it will move to destroy the economy and consolidate as much power in its own hands as possible. The EPA is saying that it will have no choice but to destroy the U.S. economy.
The EPA is presenting this as an either or. One way or another the economy will be transformed from a carbon based economy and if our economy is destroyed in the process that's merely collateral damage. The statement is stunning in both its chutzpah and in its dangerous nature.
It's a statement of an administration that is on an environmental mission and if that mission isn't achieved legislatively, they will just accomplish the same thing through regulatory fiat.
It's still unclear just how serious this threat is. Stephen Hayes, of the Weekly Standard, pointed out that such regulations could take years to implement. By then, Obama would face reelection and be made to account for what would be a terribly unpopular policy. It would swiftly be reversed by the next admin. With cap and trade on life support, the only chance for any meaningful action to limit carbon emissions lies with the EPA. So, this story continues to be one to watch.