EPA inputs (John Greer)

EPA inputs submitted by SAFE, 5/15/17 – In mid-afternoon on Thursday, May 11, we became aware of an “extremely important and urgent opportunity” to submit comments to the EPA on its activities. This inquiry was pursuant to an executive order signed by the president on 2/24/17, which established a federal policy “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens” on the American people. The goal was to identify regulations that inhibit job creation; are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective; impose costs that exceed benefits; interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies; rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or sufficiently transparent to be reproducible; or were issued pursuant to prior executive orders that have been rescinded or substantially modified.

Comments had to be posted on a
regulation.gov website by no later than Monday, May 15, and were limited to about 4,500 characters (including spaces). No links were allowed, although PDF documents could be attached.

SAFE member John Greer went to work, successfully submitting three comments based on prior SAFE activity and his own research. At last count (on 6/9/17) over 380K comments had been received, although many of them probably came in after the official deadline.


Comment One: Reform the EPA's Ozone Standard to Save American Jobs
Note: these comments are based on Attachment1_Ozone letter originally submitted to congressional committees by 60 conservative organizations [including SAFE] on May 9, 2016.

On behalf of the 60 organizations [see Attachment 1] and the millions of Americans represented, we urge you to take action on the Environmental Protection Agency's National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone and to reform the rulemaking process for ozone and other pollutants regulated under NAAQS. Without changes to the ozone regulation and reform of the rulemaking process, economic activity could be brought to a standstill in many areas across the country.

The ozone regulation has questionable benefits, but certain economic costs. Last year, when the EPA lowered the compliant level of ozone from 75 to 70 parts per billion (ppb), it estimated the regulation would cost $ 1.4 billion annually and admitted the cost of the regulation greatly outweighed the benefits of further ozone reductions. Previous cost estimates by the EPA ranged between $3.4 and $25 billion annually. The only way EPA could justify the regulation was to use questionable co-benefits. In reducing ozone, there may also be benefits from reductions of other pollutants, in this case particulate matter (PM). However, the EPA already has another set of regulations dealing exclusively with PM. Either the EPA has woefully inadequate standards for PM or it is effectively "double counting" the health benefits of PM reductions to justify the ozone regulation.

The EPA had to use questionable co-benefits to justify the regulation because of the tremendous reductions in ozone already achieved. Since 1980, ozone concentrations have fallen by 33%. In many areas across the county, ozone concentrations are nearing background levels -concentrations resulting from natural and nonlocal manmade sources. Before finalizing the current regulation, EPA was considering an ozone standard so strict Yellowstone National Park would have been noncompliant.

Many states are still working to implement the 2008 standard of 75 ppb. 177 counties, which contain just under one-third of the U.S. population, are designed as nonattainment areas under the 2008 standard. By making the ozone standard stricter, the EPA has made it significantly harder for these counties to be in compliance and ignores their hard work at meeting the prior standard.

The ozone regulation places a tremendous burden on communities across America. The result of a nonattainment designation can be disastrous and bring economic activity to a halt. Local governments risk losing federal highway funds. Oil and gas operations, with the royalty and tax revenue they bring, may cease. Manufacturers may be forced to relocate or shut down, destroying jobs in the process.

Given the harmful economic effects, we ask that you consider measures to change the ozone standard and reform the rulemaking process. Currently, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 (H.R. 4775, S.2882) is one such measure that achieves these objectives. The legislation would push back the attainment deadline for states and require economic feasibility to be considered. Additionally, it would bring much needed reform to the rulemaking process by changing the review period for pollutants under NAAQS from every 5 years to every 10.

Update: Implementation of the ozone standard reduction has been delayed for a year to consider some of the objections critics have raised. Trump delays one of the agency’s most expensive regulations ever, Michael Bastasch, dailycaller.com, 6/7/17.

Comment two (abbreviated version of a SAFE blog post): All regulations restricting greenhouse gas emissions should be removed.

1.
The so-called "Clean Power Plan" was never about clean air but about shutting down coal, and regulations related to it should be eliminated. The "CO2 Endangerment Finding", the supposed justification for the Clean Power Plan, must also be vacated.

U.S. air has become very clean, meeting all standards. Using inferior data and faulty analysis, EPA claimed big benefits for tighter standards, but independent analyses show insignificant benefits and huge costs.

Independent analyses indicate "costs to comply with the plan could total nearly $300 billion from 2022 to 2033" and jeopardize access to affordable, reliable electricity for households and businesses. Attachment1, Attachment2
.
The CPP is unnecessary and ineffective, with high costs far exceeding the negligible and questionable benefits. It kills jobs and raises costs for consumers.

Coal is a tremendously valuable resource which all major countries including the U.S. should and will continue to use for their benefit. Attachment3.

2.
The U.S. must exit the historically bad Paris climate agreement but that is not enough. It must also exit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which is the foundation for Paris. Attachment 4.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that computer models show big U.S. emission cuts would only avoid 0.01 degree C of warming but were important for U.S. "international leadership." So the cuts are only symbolic, not effective for climate change. Attachment5
.
The U.S. pledged 26-28 percent emission cuts while allowing China and many others unlimited emission increases. Any cuts by the U.S. will be more than offset by increases by others.

Shouldn't all countries cut? Not according to the Paris agreement which specifies "Economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties."

As IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer said: "Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection." It's about negotiating "the distribution of the world's resources." Attachment6.

Contrary to the false claim of "consensus" on man-made catastrophic climate change, "the whole proposition is largely without basis and highly implausible". Attachment7.

Who is for this agreement? Politicians, activists, corporations, scientists, and bureaucrats with a stake in the $1.5 trillion-per-year climate change and renewable energy businesses. Attachment6
.
Claims that renewable energy creates jobs are dishonest. Because of the high cost of renewable energy, more jobs are lost than created.

Any and all present and future regulations related to restricting or reducing CO2 emissions should be eliminated because they are costly and ineffective for the stated purpose of affecting climate change. Instead, they destroy jobs and hurt consumers, businesses, and the whole economy. 

Comment three: Withdraw the Clean Power Plan ("CPP)

1.
The manmade global warming theory (MMGWT) has not been proven - and with no overall global warming since 1998 it is looking increasingly dubious.

This development contradicts predictions based on the MMGWT, as CO2 levels in the atmosphere have continued to rise, and one might infer that there is something wrong with the theory.

All things considered, the EPA might do well to reconsider its endangerment finding instead of proposing regulations to force a reduction in carbon emissions.

2.
The claim that there would be a net economic benefit from implementing the CPP is misleading. In reality, this plan would represent a huge tax on Americans, with only modest resultant benefits. Independent analyses show high costs and negligible benefits:

"[C]osts to comply with the plan could total nearly $300 billion from 2022 to 2033."

"NERA's new analysis projects that EPA's Clean Power Plan will cost consumers and businesses as much as $39 billion a year, far outpacing the costs of compliance for all EPA rules for power plants in 2010 ($7 billion) and the annual cost of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule ($10 billion).

The analysis also finds that additional coal retirements would total up to 47,000 megawatts or more of coal-based electricity, posing a major threat to electric reliability in many parts of the country.

Despite these significant impacts, EPA's illegal rule will have virtually no effect on climate change, reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration by less than one-half of a percent, lowering global average temperature by 2/100th of a degree, and reducing sea level rise by the thickness of two sheets of paper." Attachment1, Attachment2.

3.
The CPP is not simply an environmental regulation, it represents an attempt to bypass Congress and make law by executive fiat.

The CPP would represent an exercise in making policy, not executing policies established by Congress, which would contravene Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives."
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