SCOTUS Who? Biden EPA Unveils 'Carbon' Limits For Coal & Gas Plants

P. Gardner Goldsmith | May 14, 2023



In April, MRCTV covered the Biden Administration increase to “$51 per ton” for its arbitrary, Constitution-defying, made-up “cost of carbon” that it wants to fold into all kinds of penalties and fines for those who use “fossil fuels” for energy, essentially creating a “carbon tax” by another name.

And, as most purveyors of fiction often do, the administration seemed to use that as a “teaser” for its “next chapter” in the ongoing federal, state, and international fantasy of carbon-shaming as part of its “Climate Change” agenda. The goal, of course, is to stifle cheap, plentiful petrochemical fuel use and force everyone onto an expensive, government-controlled, government-subsidized, faux “green” electric grid. And on Thursday, May 11, the Bidenista “environmental” fantasy writers revealed their newest edicts: edicts to be imposed on coal and gas-powered electric plants, edicts that DEFY a recent Supreme Court ruling prohibiting them, and edicts that will make the already extant nightmare of our fed-strangled energy supply even worse.

Foremost among the new EPA brownshirt strictures is a command that said plants reduce “carbon emissions” by a shocking 90 percent within the next two decades. The Federalist’s Tristan Justin offers more:

“New carbon pollution standards for coal and natural gas-fired power plants unveiled Thursday demand plants reduce their emissions by a staggering 90 percent within two decades or face closure. The new rules come less than a year after the Supreme Court struck down the agency’s unilateral rule-making authority to implement emissions limits on existing power plants in West Virginia v. EPA.”

You read that correctly. Taking a page from Andrew Jackson -- who, when the Supreme Court ruled that his 1830 American Indian Removal Act was unconstitutional, said, “John Marshall (then Chief-Justice) has made his decision, now, let him enforce it,” – Biden and his piratical crew are moving, full-sail, without any judicial-branch anchor.

“‘By proposing new standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants, EPA is delivering on its mission to reduce harmful pollution that threatens people’s health and wellbeing,’ said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a press release. ‘EPA’s proposal relies on proven, readily available technologies to limit carbon pollution and seizes the momentum already underway in the power sector to move toward a cleaner future.’”

Of course, if the “proposal” relies on “proven” and readily available technologies, there already is incentive for market participants to use them as long as they reduce waste, reduce potential risk of liability for tortious harm to others and their property, and reduce costs, allowing providers to be more competitive and please customers.

But this isn’t the way the Biden clan defines “proven” – and it isn’t how they in the Climate Cult see their role in human interaction.

Driven by an unrealistic, data-bent, conspiratorial, unethical, unconstitutional rage against others using petrochemicals, and spurred by an inextinguishable desire to control other people’s lives, the Biden bureaucracy and its internationalist ilk simply make things up, and then impose their will on others.

From the unfounded assumption that use of cheap petrochemical-energy is causing a catastrophic change in global temps, to the immoral claims of control over vast swathes of US land and even huge areas of the ocean, to the unethical and unconstitutional subsidies of pet “green” power boondoggles, to the claim that they simply can “impose sanctions” against foreign gas and oil imports, all the way down to the claim that they can tell us what kinds of light bulbs to buy, these officious “officials” toss around orders like poison darts, not caring about whom they hit or how damaging the impositions might be.

“Compliance with the agency’s mandatory targets, however, would require the deployment of innovative carbon capture technologies not in use at a single U.S. power plant. The new rules will push utilities to retire aging coal plants while the administration creates an artificial market for energy generation by wind and solar through generous subsidies. The EPA regulations coincide with $370 billion from the misleadingly named Inflation Reduction Act to promote Democrats’ preferred energy sources.”

Indeed, as we have noted, there is a move afoot among many collectivist governors and within the Biden Administration to use statutes, so-called “regulations,” taxes on petrochemicals, and subsidies for inefficient “green” cronies to force people off even the use of oil and gas for home heat and to push them into government-controlled “wind and solar powered” electric grids.

Related: Court Rejects Multi-State Attempt To Stop Biden’s Arbitrary 'Cost Of Carbon' Impositions | MRCTV

The fact that those forms of energy supply are neither reliable enough, nor cheap enough, to provide widespread energy in a free market does not matter to these central-planners.

Writes Justin:

“Tom Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, told The Federalist the environmental regulations threaten to undermine the power grid if the proposed rules make it past the courts.

‘If this regulation survives a court challenge, which is very much in doubt,’ Pyle said, ‘It will lead to more blackouts and higher electricity prices.’”

That’s a given. And U.S. consumers could get cheaper fuel, allowing them to have money left which they could spend on other things, if the central government would turn away from its “rules” and “regulations” and blocks on energy exploration, recovery, transport, and refining.

Pyle tacitly includes this point in his alarming observation about how the Biden “carbon emission” move will make it more difficult for investors to expand the number of gas and coal-based electricity plants.

“‘But the real point of the regulation is to immediately make it more difficult to invest in natural gas and coal-fired power plants,’ he added. The administrative obstacle to investment in the fossil fuel industry gives ‘woke Wall Street financiers like Larry Fink another excuse to justify [Environmental, Social, and Governance]-related lending and borrowing decisions at the same time.’”

Consumers cannot have a viable market if politicians and bureaucrats have their hands on the scales that weigh potential cost and benefit – hands that make up arbitrary “costs” and push fanciful schemes as being “beneficial” when they are not.

And it comes in defiance of the Supreme Court. Writes Justin:

“In June (2022), the Supreme Court overruled the EPA’s authority to singlehandedly restructure the U.S. power grid without congressional approval. The challenge rose over President Barack Obama’s effort to bypass Congress and impose the Clean Power Plan through the administrative state.”

He adds:

“Since the EPA’s draft rule relies on new and unproven technologies to meet agency requirements, the new regulations present a sweeping transformation of the power grid. While ultimately up to the courts to decide, the broad impact of the proposal goes well beyond the scope of EPA authority that was narrowed by the high bench last summer.

‘Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,' Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion of West Virginia v. EPA. ‘But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme. … A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.’”

Roberts sounds a sensible note, but his does not quite echo with the US Constitution. As a matter of Strict-Construction, the U.S. Constitution does not provide for the creation of an “Environmental Protection Agency” in the first place. The only way one could argue that the feds have some place in handling environmental conflicts is by a misreading of the Interstate Commerce Clause, in Article One, Section Eight, which is supposed to handle State-on-State conflicts over trade.

Of course, Roberts isn’t the most stellar when it comes to constitutional jurisprudence, but at least he recognizes part of the offense that these central planners represent.

Now, it is up to us, to spread the word, and to see what legal challenges will be brought to fight for our freedom to get fuel, and for our overall future. We also can work inside our states, to stop their central planning systems of so-called “power utilities” and break open a freer market for energy, rather than seeing politicians rule over us, at every level.