Issue Brief: Backdoor Energy Taxes

Background: In 2003, the Bush administration declared the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lacked the authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to regulate greenhouse gases; and even if they did, they would decline to regulate. Four years later, in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled EPA did have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

The decision was misinterpreted by many, who believed it required the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, thus implementing a backdoor cap-and-trade regime without the consent of Congress or the American people. The Bush administration began the regulatory process that culminated in the Obama administration declaring greenhouse gases a pollutant and drafting draconian regulations that will reach every sector of our economy.

Status: In January, the EPA began the second phase of regulation. Any new construction or major expansions by energy producers and other large emitters are now subject to new regulations.

Bring the Heat: Congress must reassert its role in developing our nation’s energy and environmental policies. Both the House and Senate are preparing to vote on the Energy Tax Prevention Act (S.482 / H.R.910), which would do just that by denying unaccountable EPA bureaucrats the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. Heritage Action will key vote this legislation.

Heritage Action also supports the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act (S.228 / H.R.750), introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI), which would preclude additional harmful regulations via the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Protection Act.

  • Destroying Jobs. Regulations targeting our energy sector will increase energy prices and result in greater inefficiencies and an increased reliance on expensive, unproven technology. Annual job losses will exceed 800,000 for several years under the EPA’s regulations.
  • Manufacturing Malaise. Major energy consumers, like domestic manufacturing, would be crippled – 3 million manufacturing jobs could be destroyed in just 20 years.
  • Rockefeller’s Hoax. Senator John Rockefeller’s (D-WV) S.231 and Representative Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-WV) H.R.199 implement a targeted, two-year delay of some EPA regulations. Those bills are unworthy of any conservative support because they fail to address the real problem. Rather, they provide political cover for politicians while continuing the job-stifling uncertainty associated with the regulations.

Take Action Now: First, email your Senators and tell them to stop the EPA’s destructive global warming regulations by voting for the McConnell Amendment. Second, ask your Senators to co-sponsor S.228. Third, call your Representative and ask them to co-sponsor H.R.750.

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