Regulations kowtow to environmentalists

Who is doing the most to hobble the productive power of the U.S. economy,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar?

President Barack Obama’s top cabinet appointees on environmental issues are running neck and neck in their race to see who can issue the most job-killing, growth-suffocating bureaucratic edicts. Regardless of who “wins” their contest, of course, the losers will be the rest of us.

We will have to endure long-term double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing energy and utility costs, and the loss of individual freedom that inevitably accompanies the growth of government regulation.

Jackson temporarily nosed ahead early last week when she received the green light from the White House to move forward with new regulations to combat greenhouse gases. Jackson threatened to issue these regulations last year if Congress failed to approve cap-and-trade legislation sought by Obama.

Cap-and-trade was decisively defeated by a bipartisan coalition in Congress earlier this year, and now Jackson is making good on her threat. Her move elicited a chorus of pre-Christmas squeals of delight from the legions of environmentalists angered about congressional rejection of cap-and-trade.

Jackson promises to issue a draft rule next year and a final rule in 2012 that will establish new “performance standards” for power plants and refineries. These standards will drive up the cost of energy, especially the electricity that lights our homes and powers our computers and the fuel that keeps our cars and trucks running.

Not to be outdone, Salazar countered with an audacious end-around play of his own toward the end of the week. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to manage U.S. public lands. Thus, the Wilderness Areas, national parks system and other public lands are overseen by the Interior Department only because Congress authorized the executive branch department to do so.

Environmentalists went nuts in 2003 when Gail Norton, Salazar’s predecessor in the Bush administration, liberalized the Interior Department’s public lands management process to enable more energy development. So Salazar has invented out of whole cloth a “wild lands” designation that entirely circumvents the congressionally sanctioned process.

Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican and chairman of the Western Caucus in the House, said Salazar’s “decision will seriously hinder domestic energy development and further contributes to the uncertainty and economic distress that continues to prevent the creation of new jobs in a region that has unduly suffered from this administration’s radical policies. This is little more than an early Christmas present to the far-left extremists who oppose the multiple use of our nation’s public lands.”

editorialsExaminer editorialGovernment regulationsOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City College union deal staves off layoffs, class cuts

One year agreement allows community college time to improve its finances

A Homeless Outreach Team member speaks with homeless people along Jones Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed proposes another street outreach team to divert calls away from police

San Francisco would launch a new street outreach team to respond to… Continue reading

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

A worker sets up irrigation lines to water almond tree rootstocks along Road 36 in Tulare, Calif. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Gov. Gavin Newsom extends drought emergency to 41 California counties

Faith E. Pinho Los Angeles Times In a stark indication of California’s… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stimulus plan on Monday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner file photo)
More Californians would get new $600 stimulus checks from the state under Newsom plan

Sophia Bollag The Sacramento Bee Two-thirds of Californians would get an extra… Continue reading

Most Read