Obama races to impose tougher greenhouse gas rules, and much more

The Obama administration is introducing a last-minute barrage of costly environmental regulation pronouncements that Republicans have vowed to repeal as soon as possible after Donald Trump’s January 20 presidential inauguration. The recent outpouring adds to the administration’s dubious record of producing more than 600 major regulations — those estimated to cost more than $100 million each — during its tenure, according to a study by the American Action Forum, a Washington-based think tank. Case in point: an announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the administration’s most energetic rule-makers, on Wednesday that after lengthy study, it would push ahead with tougher greenhouse gas emission standards, equivalent to 54.1 miles per gallon fuel efficiency, for passenger cars and light trucks for the years 2022-2025. EPA says the standards will prevent emission of some 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the vehicles’ life span. Technically speaking, EPA’s administrator has until April 18, 2017, to make a so-called “final determination” about the rules — but is doing it sooner, the agency says, for reasons of “long-term regulatory certainty and stability.” Translation: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is certain to be out of the job by then, and the ruling will likely hit a brick wall in a much more climate-skeptical Trump administration. The public has until December 30 — three weeks before Inauguration Day — to comment on the move. Within hours, the EPA announcement was decried by Sen, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as “another administrative avenue for President Obama to force his climate ideologies on American businesses and consumers,” through a fuel economy program that is “broken and rife with inequalities.” Inhofe said he looked forward “to working in the next Congress with the new administration to pare back all of the legacy-saving regulatory actions this administration will continue to advance as their January 20 deadline approaches.” Inhofe’s legacy-saving jibe was apt enough: the fuel economy final determination makes explicit reference to the Paris climate agreement signed by the U.S. and more than 190 other countries, which also came into force this month — and from which President-elect Trump vowed on the campaign trail to withdraw (Trump has since declared he is “keeping an open mind” about the document.) Moreover, the determination, while it makes no additional regulations post-2025, makes the case for further emissions reductions, averaging 4.3 percent annually, for the following quarter-century in order to meet the long-term goals of the Paris agreement. Cars and trucks are hardly the only products to get the eleventh-hour regulatory treatment from EPA and other agencies, in the waning months of the administration. In August, EPA and the Department of Transportation finalized additional follow-on standards through 2027 for emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles that the agencies said would save 1.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases, even while they pushed up the price of big trucks by some $14,000 by some estimates. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called the new rules “a huge win for the American people.” The estimated cost of the regulation, according to American Action Forum, is about $29.3 billion. The EPA’s first-ever regulations covering methane emissions from the oil and gas industry were finalized in May, and significantly toughened from an earlier version. They are now the focus of a court battle led by the state of Texas, which called the tough emission standards a “gross demonstration of federal over-reach.”

No kidding!!  No wonder our national debt has crossed the $20 TRILLION dollar mark!!  Thankfully, Donald Trump has vowed to make repealing many of these onerous and costly (and mostly unconstitutional) regulations one of his first acts as President.  Unreal..

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