Thursday, October 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Can the EPA stop global climate change?

The U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency may use the Clean Air Act to regulate major sources of greenhouse gases, such as factories and power plants. The agency wants to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent over the next 15 years.

But the court added, in a complex opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, that the EPA’s power is not unlimited. “It bears mention that EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case,” Scalia said. “It sought to regulate sources that it said were responsible for 86 percent of all the greenhouse gases emitted from stationary sources nationwide. Under our holdings, EPA will be able to regulate sources responsible for 83 percent of those emissions.”

Is the ruling a victory for the environment? Or does the court’s decision clear the way for more government overreach? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the Red-Blue America columnists, weigh in.

Ben Boychuk

Understand what the U.S. Supreme Court said this week: it proclaimed, on the one hand, that a powerful federal agency may not rewrite federal law to achieve a particular policy goal; and, on the other hand, the justices allowed the same powerful federal agency to still impose sweeping rules in order to reach that same goal.

The complex 5-4 decision is filled with partial concurrences and partial dissents, but Justice Scalia couldn’t have been more clear: Instead of getting to regulate 86 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA may only regulate 83 percent. Some limit!

“To permit the extra 3 percent . . . we would have to recognize a power in EPA and other government agencies to revise clear statutory terms,” Scalia said. To do so, he added, would contradict “the principle that Congress, not the president, makes the law.”

With all due respect to Justice Scalia, that’s hardly reassuring. Congress has long deferred its lawmaking power to administrative agencies – like the EPA – with disastrous consequences.

The good news is the federal government won’t necessarily be able to regulate carbon emissions from retail stores, fast-food restaurants, apartment buildings, schools or churches. The bad news is, the federal government remains bent on controlling carbon dioxide output from factories and – crucially – coal-fired power plants.

If the Obama administration has its way, Americans would pay nearly $290 billion more for electricity between 2014 and 2030. The feds would weaken the nation’s power grid and undermine the economy in pursuit of a folly – namely, “taking the lead” against “global climate change.”

Meantime, as the Sydney Morning Herald reported earlier this month, “the amount of the U.S. cuts would be replaced more than three times over by projected increases in China alone.”

The EPA’s goals have little to do with environmental protection. Averting a “climate disaster” is secondary to asserting control over an ever-larger slice of the private economy.

But that reality won’t hit home until lower- and middle-income families see their utility bills double and triple. Then the Supreme Court’s “limited” ruling will prove to be cold comfort to millions of literally powerless Americans.

Joel Mathis

Well, thank goodness for the Supreme Court.

Those aren’t words that liberals get to utter very often, but they’ve occurred just often enough in recent years to suggest that not all hope is lost, even though conservatives hold a 5-4 majority on the court.

Three rulings – affirming the legality of Obamacare, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, and now largely upholding the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency – have enabled the liberal agenda to proceed during the Obama years despite the obstruct-at-all-costs opposition of the tea party and its allies.

Which is all very well and good. The question is whether those results will help create a better, safer country than the one that currently exists. The answer: Probably.

Despite the hysterical (and often dishonest) work of many on the right, there’s not significant doubt among scientists about whether A) climate change is real or B) whether it’s substantially created by human action. What doubt exists mostly exists in the public’s mind – and mostly among Republicans – but that doubt has been large enough to prevent American officials from doing anything about it. Which gave this country the appearance of fiddling even as the planet burned down around it.

A better, more fact-based course of action would’ve been to acknowledge the existence of climate change – which is happening whether or not it is acknowledged – and debate the best solutions to it. Conservatives chose to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. So President Obama and the environmentalists did the only sane thing: Used what power was lying around, waiting to be used, in order to force some large-scale changes that will mitigate this country’s contribution to climate change. They now have the Supreme Court’s seal of approval.

The solutions the EPA imposes will not be the same solutions that Republicans might’ve agreed to. That’s too bad, because Republican preferences for market-based solutions might’ve helped lighten the burden of whatever regulations are coming. The EPA can help mitigate climate change; it would be nice if it had a “loyal opposition” partner in the GOP.

Ben Boychuk (bboychuk@city-journal.org) is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Joel Mathis (joelmmathis@gmail.com) is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine. Visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/benandjoel.

Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Children run for the sake of running

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Real McCoy ferry to shut down Thursday

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Nairobi, oldest giraffe at Six Flags, dies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Day of Remembrance focuses on domestic violence prevention

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
60th Air Mobility Wing gets outstanding unit award

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Audubon group to offer wetlands walk, bird workshop

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
 
Trailer rolls, knocks down pole, damages roadway

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Bridge to Life gets extension for temporary kitchen

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

Pumpkin bob set at Fairfield city pool

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Canada’s PM says shooting rampage was terrorism

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
125 San Francisco inmates to get computer tablets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

California malpractice cap generates big spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Huge gold nugget going up for sale in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Healdsburg bans tobacco sales to anyone under 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Davis votes to return armored vehicle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Study looks at lane splitting in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Goofy dinosaur blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Social Security benefits get another tiny increase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Teens’ travel renews concerns about terror appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Blackwater guards found guilty in Iraq shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Methodist panel hears appeal over gay wedding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
AP-GfK Poll: Public wants tighter Ebola screening

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Key features of rigorous new US Ebola monitoring

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Missile, fire from Egypt wounds 2 Israeli troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Mexico: Mayor linked to deadly attack on students

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Nigeria truce is shaky, no news of abducted girls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraqi Kurdish lawmakers OK fighters for Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Analysis: Fowle was North Korea’s easiest US case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

UK man faked coma for 2 years to avoid court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Prisons agree to end race policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

 
Don’t make this mistake after voting

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Living a Democrat PC nightmare

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

Real reason to vote yes on 46

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Keck did good job researching issue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

My husband visits dating sites, stays out until 3 or 4 a.m.

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
NBC promoting Weir, Lipinski to top skating team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Annie Lennox embraces jazzy ‘Nostalgia’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Renee Zellweger: ‘People don’t know me in my 40s’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sax player behind ‘Baker Street’ solo dies at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
‘SNL’ adds black woman to cast from writers room

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Giants’ bullpen melts down in 7-2 loss to Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors hoping Kerr is final piece for title run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Local Report: Armijo XC teams finish MEL 10-0

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Carr confident despite Raiders’ winless start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

AP source: Goodell told to testify in Rice appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings measuring success on ‘wins and losses’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Probe: UNC academic fraud was ‘shadow curriculum’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
World Series rating for opener drops to low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Beaten Giants fan shows significant progress

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Polian, Wolf nominated for Pro Football Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Slumping Bears hope to slow No. 6 Oregon, Mariota

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stanford picked to win Pac-12 regular-season crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA owners fail to pass lottery reform

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Leafs-Senators game postponed after shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Phony World Series tickets, merchandise seized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Request denied to remove judge on Peterson case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brad Keselowski not concerned with popularity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
SHR swaps crews for Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

’85 World Series Royals relishing playoff run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
From Mexico to the World Series, Petit Giants’ shines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

FedEx, UPS make plans for a better holiday season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
The top 20 US cities for tech startup funding

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘Silicon Beach’ brings tech boom to Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
BofA to refund Apple Pay customers charged twice

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Keith Bowen

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Blanche Stevens

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dr. Robert M. Takamoto

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9