Carlin: The Politicization of the EPA — an Administration’s Radical Gamble

Alan Carlin

Alan Carlin

Alan Carlin — the EPA scientist whose skeptical report was hushed — thinks Obama and the EPA just placed a terrible bet with the politically motivated CO2 endangerment finding.  Carlin has carried out or supervised economic and scientific research on public policy issues for over 40 years — first at The RAND Corporation, and since 1971 at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

By Alan Carlin

On Monday, the EPA announced its endangerment finding for greenhouse gases. One can infer from the timing of the announcement that the administration may have taken this action at this time in order to bring something to the table at the Copenhagen COP15 meeting.

From a scientific viewpoint, it was an odd time to do so — given that the very recent Climategate disclosures would presumably have taken some time to digest and analyze for their possible effects on vital conclusions. So the timing may have been based more on the political, rather than the scientific, factors involved.

But from a larger viewpoint, the U.S. president who was going to find a way to resolve partisan bickering in Washington has now embarked on a major escalation of the conflict — by using the power he holds over executive branch agencies to fight his enemies in Congress over the issue of global warming.

Although the EPA has always been, organizationally, an arm of the administration in power, until this administration the EPA has generally been able to maintain the appearance (if not the reality) of being science-based.

That is now much harder to maintain.

Originally, the rumor was that the purpose of the endangerment finding would be to pressure Congress into approving a cap and trade bill. Now, it appears fairly clear that the administration will not be able to gather the needed votes in the Senate to pass the bill — at least this year, and probably even next year, either with or without an endangerment finding. So there would seem to be little reason to push the endangerment finding now — unless they intended to use it as the basis for negotiating at COP15.

Some Major Political Risks

This EPA endangerment approach carries major risks for the administration. The first risk is that the EPA’s apparently politically motivated endangerment finding may be overturned in the now-inevitable court reviews.

The second risk is that when greenhouse gas regulations should be announced — and certainly when they should ever be implemented — the full responsibility will obviously fall onto the administration, rather than being shared between the administration and Congress (which is what would occur if Congress ever adopted a cap and trade bill). If constituents end up being unhappy with the resulting regulations, and particularly the greatly increased energy costs and decreased employment that will result, it will be obvious who was responsible.

And there may well be some very unhappy constituents.

A third risk is that they will not be able to contain the EPA’s actions, since the law clearly specifies that much smaller sources are subject to regulation than they now contemplate, and legal action may force the EPA to regulate smaller sources whether it wants to or not.

Read the rest of this piece at Pajamas Media.

More at PJTV: Whistleblower an Inconvenient Voice in Obama’s EPA)

16 Responses to Carlin: The Politicization of the EPA — an Administration’s Radical Gamble

  1. Rob N. Hood December 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Well, guess what? Obama is obviously willing to risk it. His perogative. There’s an election in less than three years and he knows that better than anyone. Didn’t Bush once say something about a President having to make hard decsions? I’m sure he did, he was always whining about something or another.

  2. paul wenum December 9, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

    I’m definitely awaiting 2010/12! It will make my day.

  3. KEN PETERSEN December 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    Rob, you need to stop whinning about Bush and start looking at what your own democratic president, congress and senate are doing to the american
    people. If they keep up their ecological policies and keep taxing the corporations the way they are. There will be no corporations left to keep the american people employed. This global warming scam is something that should be looked into, before we go any further with any bills involving the the ecological damage to our planet.
    This is to big of a thing to just dismiss. If they find out that documents have been deliberatly schreded and data has been falsefied. Then these people should be
    prosecuted to the full exstent of the law. So please open your eyes to the bull we’ve been fed for all these years. Please stop watching the same tv channels that
    only tell you what they want you to hear. Don’t be a mindless robot for your party or a follower. Stand up and be a leader and stop allowing liars to get away with
    spending our hard earned money like drunken sailors.

  4. Rob N. Hood December 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    That would be two days, Paul. Just sayin’

    Here’s some food for thought.

    Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

    All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.

    He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

    In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

    Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

    He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

    Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.

    If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

    It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

    Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

    Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

    He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans.

    The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

    He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

    Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

  5. paul wenum December 10, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    In other words. Let government run your life. I have clean water, excellent health care, my food is excellent, I like “Lava” soap, Rough as hell and been around before your time., I breath “FREE” air, not taxed Co2, I get into my CAR, not a bus that may take me nowhere without 50 stops (I’m on the road a lot), I pay workers comp insurance, my father was an FDIC Bank examiner and I know what they do, I paid off my home because I earned money and paid what was legally right after signing a contract to do same, I drive a Chevrolet, an American built car that is safe, I show up at my fathers house that has been paid with no government intervention, and the house has electricity since 1918 or sooner, (My grandfather had the first electric powered lumber mill in Wisconsin circa 1898) no regulartions that I’m aware of by the government, the mother-law, my father is deceased, exists on her investrments after 50 years working hard on a family farm. no government assistance, and then on the way home I hear on the radio that we have increased our debt to 1.8 Trillion dollars.

    Rob, That is real world, not your socialistic outlook on life. You have an entitlement attitude that just bleeds “keep me comfortable” as I do nothing to EARN IT!!!

  6. Rob N. Hood December 11, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    Denial is a crutch, used in your case for misplaced anger. Social Security, good thing or bad thing? Answer: the greatest invention for old age EVER.

    Many of you still believe in two party politics on a national level. However, the more I study and research what is going on, the more I’ve come to think that it’s all a farce, a huge donkey and elephant circus, with the leashes to both the donkey and elephant held by the same really rich and powerful corporate, fascist hands that extend in all directions globally these days.

    Barak Obama is not a Muslim. He is just a SCAPEGOAT (whether he is well-intentioned or not) who is being used to destroy the remnants of the US civil rights movement and US liberalism (reason and freedom based political thought). First lady, Michelle Obama, was an ambitious member the Chicago political machine that is connected to the powerful Council on Foreign Relations that is also connected to the elitist Trilateral Commission and the worldwide Bilderburger billionaire elites…the real, super money elites who really run this nation behind the political scenes.

    In my thinking, these guys run an ongoing “Bad Cop/Good Cop/Bad Cop” billion dollar political show for us voters (a cheap price to pay for being able to rule the world with impunity). Bush Co. was the “bad cop”…major outsourcing of jobs (Oh! I know Clinton started it just a little, but Bush Co. opened it completely wide open), and the Federal Reserve and big investment banks and most other banks scammed and vacuuming up US middle class wealth for eight long years, and then also scammed the entire world to gain more power and wealth for themselves, as if they really needed it (but it’s the ultimate game—gaining ever more power over others). Members of both parties are full of outer circle members of these elitist/corporatists and think tanks and organizations mentioned above…as was HW Bush and the Clintons and GW and now Obama.

    After the Bush Co. “Bad Cop” show, and Hillary’s failure, they saw a real simple solution. Just put a black man in as the “Good Cop” President and then let him benignly preside over the decline of the US middle class masses into abject poverty. If successful, they would discredit the US civil rights movement and keep blacks from rising very far in politics for the next hundred years.

    So they “found” Barak Obama, an ambitious Harvard academic, an articulate talker. The conservative elites then literally “dropped” Obama into the race for the presidency…almost a “shoo in” because much of Middle America hated Bush Co. because of job losses and its terrible corruption and arrogant war making.
    So now, everything is now moving along nicely toward a really harsh post Obama rule ( a GOP win in 2012) and bitter economic serfdom for the US populace on a scale we Americans have never experienced in our lifetimes and most can scarcely still imagine.

    Worldwide, Western corporatism (fascism) will rule the Western world with massive military force and impunity, a “New American Century.”
    Police state rule, as we are already seeing will keep the impoverished masses in line.

    Basic human rights will be minimized and compliance to the state rules will be enforced with new electronic devices (tasers and other “non-lethal,” pain-causing weapons).

  7. Dan McGrath December 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Social security is a bad thing. Government forces you to “invest” in their bankrupt ponzi scheme and Congress raids the funds. If a private retirement investment firm operated like social security, people would be going to prison for a long long time. It’s very much like Tom Petters’ and Bernie Madoff’s schemes.

  8. paul wenum December 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Rob, I sure want to know what you drink and read before your posts. I definitely want to stay away from both items.

  9. Rob N. Hood December 14, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Dan- libertarianism is just a polite word for anarchism.

    I consider capitalism to be a failed system, one which fundamentally cannot provide for the needs of humanity and increasingly puts us in danger of the total annihilation of the species- regardless of “desires” or “feelings” of individual capitalists involved. The last period of world history, starting roughly with the end of the Second World War, vindicates much of Marx’s economic analysis. Putting that aside, there are strong ethical objections to be made to the idea that one is entitled to the alienated labor of another. Further, there are strong ethical objections to be made to the notion that one can somehow, magically and metaphysically, “own” natural resources such as land and water which require no labor power to have value. Capitalism rests on the assumption that both of these methods of exploitation- the extraction of surplus value and ownership of natural resources- are natural and ethical.

    Like most self-proclaimed “libertarians,” Dan is blissfully unaware that his capitalist utopia represents a near-medieval nightmare barbarian dominance of capital over wage labor. Behold, a vision from the “anarcho-capitalist” (libertarian) utopia of de Soto:

    “Today, for instance, most streets and highways are closed to the adoption of innumerable entrepreneurial innovations — the collection of a toll per vehicle and hour, the private management of security and noise pollution, etc.”

    Those familiar with the increasing preference of the capitalist state on private security firms to do their bidding both at home and broad will rightly shudder in horror at the picture painted by de Soto.

  10. Dan December 14, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    American capitalism is a failed system that can’t provide the needs of humanity?! Are you completely daft? Our little economic system here is so successful that we feed and police the whole damn world! All those little socialist banana republics are receiving billions of dollars in cash and food from the capitalist United states. Economic freedom generates so much prosperity that we have money and food to spare for all the failing socialist countries around the world and we can provide for their security and still have the ability to explore outer space in our spare time! Failed?! The US has accomplished more than any nation in the world’s history. Show me a better example of economic success. Show me another country where the poor have a standard of living as high as in the US. Show me another nation that extends more charity to the rest of the world. What’s failed is our bloated government’s intervention. The federal government has become like an anchor threatening to drag us down into to the economic mire of the rest of the world.

  11. Rob N. Hood December 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Ahh, Dan, the ultimate swallower of right-wing propaganda. You fail to add into your fairly tale story all the death and destruction we have exported as well. And what about all those people that continue to starve? You conveniently omit them in your one-sided piece of fiction. And now that all of the capitalistic hens (or skeletons) are coming home to roost, and we (and the “financial” part of the world) are in the process of imploding, you still cling to your fairly tales… sad. Nice try pollanna. And that bit about the government pulling us down… Who created an even bigger government for us/you? Reagan and Bush II, that’s who.

    But I know you love me Dan. I have single-handedly generated a ton of hits on this weak site. No need to thank me though.

  12. paul wenum December 14, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Rob, you don’t generate anything but ignorance of reality. You must have a hella of a life. Thanks to people like you, this sight will grow with people finally seeing what type of personalities they are up against, especially in Copenhagen. You always reconfirm why I’m a conservative and not left wing liberal. I sleep better after reading your abysmal posts. It confirms my thought process.

  13. Rob N. Hood December 15, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    Dream on Paul. Glad I can be of service.

  14. Paul Wenum December 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    I’m sure that others will as well.

  15. Rob N. Hood December 17, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    Capitalism is a good system, only to an extent though. It needs good regulation and over-sight. It hasn’t had that for the past 30 years or so, and it has caused extreme monopolization. And those big corporations continue to grow beyond what is real market capitalism- in fact we do not have market capitalism at all. So they will continue to monopolize, globally, and will it will all eventually implode upon itself, unless some strong sane people agree to serious economical (and political) changes. But I’m not holding my breath for that. The wealthy elite control everything, and they will not be stopped- not until it all collapses for real. When will that occur- nobody knows. But it will. Then there will be terrible chaos. A Libertarians dream really- that is until the fascism that is currently in the background takes over and dictatorships arise to regain order. And guess who will be controlling these dictatorship/s? The wealthy elite who are currently rising to the top even now- they know what’s coming, they may be psychotically greedy but they aren’t stupid.

  16. paul wenum December 17, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    You sound like Hugo Chavez. Are you in Copenhagen? He got a standing ovation for what you just espoused. Sad, but true.

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