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Posted at 2:12 PM ET, 12/28/2010

House Energy chair Upton calls EPA climate change plan 'unconstitutional power grab'

By Steven Mufson

Another shot flew over the EPA's bow Tuesday.

In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, the incoming House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) teamed up with Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, to write that the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases "represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs -- unless Congress steps in."

Upton and Phillips complain that EPA -- despite the regulatory power given to it in 2007 under a Supreme Court interpretation of the Clean Air Act -- should await the outcome of further litigation about the way EPA is going about exercising that regulatory authority.

They say the two-year delay in the implementation of regulations proposed by some lawmakers might not be long enough. Moreover, they say they disagree with lawmakers who hope Congress will come up with its own regulations in two years. "This presumes that carbon is a problem in need of regulation. We are not convinced," they write.

The piece promises some interesting moments when EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson is called to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, formerly run by climate legislation supporter Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) with leading support from Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

By Steven Mufson  | December 28, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
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Next: Upton may tackle global warming issue more quickly than Issa


In 2007, the Supreme Court said that nothing in the clean air act specifically prohibited the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide so long as EPA developed and substantiated an “Endangerment Finding”, i.e., before EPA can regulate carbon dioxide EPA must demonstrate that carbon dioxide emissions present a danger to the environment.

EPA purports to have developed and presented such an endangerment finding. However, EPA violated its own rules in developing the finding. Specifically EPA relied on data that EPA did not develop and for which EPA has not performed a quality assurance assessment. EPA rules specify that only data of known quality may be used during development of regulations. EPA cannot know the quality of the ambient temperature data because no one has a complete set of the original data and a set of the algorithms that GISS and CRU used during development of the data. In short, EPA cannot know with any certainty how much the climate has warmed since 1850.

In addition, EPA cannot assess the accuracy and precision of the computer models that are the only evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are causing the climate to warm. None of the three-dozen or so climate models has ever shown any power to forecast global temperature trends. In short, EPA cannot demonstrate that the computer-generated data, upon which the endangerment finding rests, are reliable.

Once again, EPA bypasses its own rules and procedures in pursuit of a political goal. Nothing about this process has anything whatsoever to do with science. It is all a spirit quest (\ ) by the environmental zealots who work at and run EPA.

Posted by: snorbertzangox | December 28, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse


The obvious fallacy in your thinking is that the EPA, or any Government Agency, is obligated to follow its own rules when it created regulations that the rest of us must follow. Citizens of the US are subject to serious penalties for lying to the Government or failing to comply with the ever increasing set of regulations; employees of the Government are free to lie to us and ignore their own rules because they work for the Government. Those who make the rules get to decide which ones to follow.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | December 28, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I find I have little problem with reasonable limits placed on carbon emissions by the EPA. Some level of regulation is coming in the future, and the sooner we start, perhaps the less draconian those limits may be.
Energy prices are rising regardless, with virtually all increases now serving to enhance enery companies' profits; better that some of that money go toward alternative sources.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | December 28, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

If it were up to Republicans, we Americans would have been drinking toxic water, and breathing polluted air everyday they are/were in power, which never got the American People even 1 extra job, nor did it prevent Republicans from shipping all of our manufacturing jobs to their beloved China.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 28, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

snorbertzangox wrote: "Specifically EPA relied on data that EPA did not develop and for which EPA has not performed a quality assurance assessment. EPA rules specify that only data of known quality may be used during development of regulations."

Nothing in the administrative rules of the EPA prohibit relying on scientific data. Further, nothing in those rules requires the EPA to rely on disinformation from marketing organizations such as AEI, Heritage, Cato, Mercatus, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Petroleum Institute, or any other organization that is not objective or disinterested.

The scientific data is clear. The EPA can, should, and will act on it, and not on lobbyist talking points.

Posted by: Garak | December 28, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dems!

We are going to shove your entire liberal agenda right down your throats!

You thought your fluke election of 2008 was a blank check?

We are going to disband the EPA.

Chew on that awhile Dems!

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | December 28, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Look at all this global warming in New York
City, it is still digging out from all this global warming! Also look at Great Britain, Russia, and France. They are still shoveling all that global warming! And before somebody starts screaming about ITS WEATHER NOT CLIMATE!!! If you look at the countries listed above it really looks global to me! the last 3 years has been COLD! So that is 3 years how long does it take to make a trend?
AGW trend is about 25 years till 1998. I really think people and countries should start to plan for an ice age, the way the GLOBAL trend is starting to look!!!!

Posted by: donniewv | December 28, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

for those of you who are confused by all the conflicting assertions on climate change, check this out:

Posted by: newdad | December 28, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone remember how polluted our rivers and waterways were and how dirty our air was to breath before we had regulations and the EPA.

If you were around in the '60's you may remember the river in Ohio that caught fire due to the pollution and that event helped spur the environmental movement.

Or Love Canal. People were living on top of a toxic waste dump - Hooker Chemical dumped chemical waste beginning in the '40's.

There is no such thing as corporations policing themselves.

Posted by: FauxReal | December 29, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Industry cashing in its' chits...

Posted by: WmLaney | December 29, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Congress makes the laws, not bureaus like the EPA. Get rid of its funding and get rid of the marxists who want us all to die!

Obama and his czars must go. Bring on the investigations!

Posted by: annnort | December 29, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I spent over 40 years working for local, State air pollution control agencies, consulting for EPA on regulation development and data collection projects and assisting private clients who were dealing with the byzantine maze of EPA regulations. EPA requires every person whether internal, provided by consultants or outside agencies who wish to submit data for regulatory development to prepare Quality Assurance Project Plans. These plans must describe all quality assurance and quality control actions that the data developer will use to determine the accuracy and precision of the data and to assure that the research project meets the quality objectives.

EPA may incorporate data from projects for which there was no a priori quality assurance plan if EPA is able, post hoc, to ascertain that the procedures that the researchers used meet minimum quality standards. EPA may review the data collection and calculation procedures and determine that the data are of acceptable quality. That process was not possible in the case of the temperature data because the data acquisition and calculation procedures are esoteric, if anyone at all knows.

Your contention “The scientific data is clear” is incorrect. No collected data demonstrate that carbon dioxide is the cause of the ongoing warming of the climate. No one disputes that the climate has warmed over the past 150 years, although the state of the data leaves considerable doubt about the magnitude of the warming. The only data that implicate carbon dioxide as the cause come from computer models. And, as I said, none of the models has ever successfully predicted a future climate temperature.

Posted by: snorbertzangox | December 29, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Faux Real,
Hooker Chemical did not dump chemical waste at Love Canal. The company obtained permits from local agencies and constructed a waste landfill. They lined landfill with an impervious substance to prevent the liquid portions from leaching into the ground water and covered it with another impervious layer designed to minimize evaporation of waste materials into the air. When it was full, they maintained ownership of the property.

The county government approached Hooker and asked if the company would sell the property. Hooker said no, citing the possible evolution of vapors if the site was improperly developed. The County asserted eminent domain. Hooker was unable to resist the seizure but did manage to insert a codicil into the deed that prohibited construction of any buildings on the property forever. The county violated the codicil by selling the property to a developer who intended to construct residences.

That use of the property proved disastrous when the vaporous substances evolved into the captured air spaces inside of the residences causing the concentration of organic compounds to exceed acceptable limits.

It is difficult to blame this one on the company. I imagine that Hooker, in retrospect, wishes that it had incinerated the wastes.

Posted by: snorbertzangox | December 29, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Chew on that awhile Dems!

Posted by: FormerDemocrat

Your rectum tastes terrible!

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | December 29, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

snorbertzangoxnone wrote: "...none of the models has ever successfully predicted a future climate temperature."

Some would disagree. See "Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments
September 2010" (Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, Sept. 2010) (

"Claim: Climate models are defective and therefore cannot provide reliable projections of future climate trends.

Despite many weaknesses, climate models are increasingly able to represent a range of physical processes and feedbacks and thereby reproduce past and present observations. Consistency between models and observations lends confidence to model projections of future climate change. Models are but one tool, together with theory and observations, to assess and quantify climate processes."

Further, if you're right on EPA not following its own rules on developing regulatory guidance (something with which I have substantial first-hand experience at another federal department), I'm sure you can bring this to the attention of the plaintiffs challenging the rules. A court will easily determine if EPA followed its own rules. If EPA did not, then the court will invalidate the rules.

We've seen far too many instances of outright fraud (I am NOT pointing at you) to accept without question the claims of climate change skeptics.

Posted by: Garak | December 29, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"...Environmental Protection Agency's plan to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases..."

Isn't that what they are supposed to do?

Did Lord Cheney change the name to PPA?

(Polluters Protection Agency)

Posted by: areyousaying | December 29, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse


I composed and submitted a response to your latest post. The Washington Post has refused to put it up on the blog.

Posted by: snorbertzangox | December 30, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

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