EPA sues Oklahoma utility for obeying the law

Guest post by David Middleton

Just when you think that the EPA cannot possibly get any more idiotic…

U.S. EPA sues OG&E over work at Oklahoma coal power plants

Tue Jul 9, 2013

(Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sued Oklahoma Gas and Electric for failure to follow procedures required by the Clean Air Act while upgrading two coal plants in the state.

The EPA said in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on Monday that OG&E, a unit of OGE Energy Corp, failed to estimate emissions resulting from construction projects between 2003 and 2006 at its facilities.

The Clean Air Act requires regulated facilities to anticipate emissions increases that would result from physical changes, so that, if required, a utility can take steps to prevent them, according to the complaint.

OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said the company believed it had been and still was in compliance with all state and federal requirements.

“We intend to vigorously defend our position, which is that we followed procedures,” he said, “and actual monitored data indicates that emissions did not increase as a result of the work that was done.”


Shares of OGE were up 1.5 percent at $35.07 in morning trading.


The EPA claims that OG&E failed to estimate emissions that did not occur. They are suing OG&E in an effort to force the company “to assess whether its projects were likely to result in a significant [GHG] emissions increase.”

The EPA had no authority to regulate GHG emissions when the work was done (2003 & 2006). The work (on boilers and turbine blade replacements) caused no emissions increase.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
July 10, 2013 6:05 pm

This is how politics occurs in totalitarian states – companies abused and bullied at the whim of politicians.
What happens next is you get a third world economy. When a third world company is threatened by the competition, instead of cutting prices or improving services, they call in political favours to have the competition shut down.
The effect this abuse has on the quality of services and goods received by the consumer, and the prices they pay, I leave to your imagination.

July 10, 2013 6:10 pm

If there is a bright side to this, it might be that such absurd excesses will create a backlash against the oppression.

July 10, 2013 6:14 pm

“First, you show up and crucify the first young men you see, to make an example.”

July 10, 2013 6:15 pm

Court judgements don’t mean much; look at the NLRB member who was found to be seated to the board illegally (as determined by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit):

Eric Simpson
July 10, 2013 6:16 pm

The EPA is going to frivolous lawsuit our power companies to death. Until the price of energy is skyhigh, and our companies and families are suffering dreadfully. And our economy retrenches.
“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States.” -John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar

July 10, 2013 6:21 pm


July 10, 2013 6:23 pm

“If there is a bright side to this, it might be that such absurd excesses will create a backlash against the oppression.”
Unfortunately.Glynn,you are wrong.Sheeples will just keep paying the corrupt politicos to carry on.
When some clown shows up on my door step,and tells me I can’t grow my carrots because they are not “properly” spaced,well. I’ll leave it at that.

July 10, 2013 6:25 pm

Not a lawyer but there is a provision in law that you cannot break one if it is impossible to follow. The greens did that with the Vegetation Management Act in Australia, where they could redraw vegetation maps without notifying the land owner.
Seems a similar case.

July 10, 2013 6:25 pm

If this complaint originated with the Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality, I’m not surprized at all. ODEQ is a very troublesome and radical organization in my experience. They pulled this crap on me at the natural gas plant where I work. In our case, they (ODEQ) actually signed off on documents specifically stating that our plant was not subject to a certain set of regulations (subpart KKK), then 3 years later they came in and tried to levy a heap of fines on us for not complying with it. Even after we produced the documents with their head honcho’s signature on it, they still pursued the punishment. We did not back down, and ultimately wound up in some heated meetings, until they finally backed down, althought they still act like they are doing you a favor by letting you off the hook. Pompous a-holes they are, and intimidation is their go-to tactic.

July 10, 2013 6:32 pm

The slate must be cleared, no other way, E.P.A. purged.

July 10, 2013 6:38 pm

Retroactive prosecution of Coal is simply another front in the President’s war on American and its energy, one utilizing time travel.

Janice Moore
July 10, 2013 6:38 pm

Is it mere coincidence that this clearly groundless, harassment, lawsuit follows a senator (Jim Inhofe) from Oklahoma’s recent, severe, criticism of the Puppet-in-Chief? I don’t think so.
May 9, 2013 — Inhofe speaks bluntly about Dopebama and Benghazi homicides
[Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/299009-inhofe-obama-could-be-impeached-over-benghazi%5D
June 27, 2013 — Inhofe criticizes Dopebama’s control-the-climate speech
“The future laid out by the president is one of economic stagnation, high unemployment, and an uncompetitive and uncertain economy. We need jobs, not more fanciful posturing and politics.”
[Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/06/27/obama-climate-change-sen-inhofe-editorials-debates/2465939/%5D
The fact that the EPA case is laughably weak indicates: 1) they were in a hurry to get it done to “get him;” and/or 2) it is just what it appears to be, frivolous. Likely to be thrown out on 12(b)(6) Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (…. unless they get a crooked judge….), but, the EPA won’t care; harassment accomplished. Disgusting.

July 10, 2013 6:38 pm

retroactively breaking the law………………

Bill H
July 10, 2013 6:39 pm

I wish we could do to the people (Obama and his EPA) as those in Boston did when the king was forcefully unloading tea (with a heavy British tax attached) in Boston harbor. A tar and feathering seems to be in order..

July 10, 2013 6:42 pm

Hopefully one day soon the contractors and power companies will say enough it enough and go explain how the world works to Obama and the EPA – both legally and politically. Time to “transfer” some EPA staff to the private sector. It’s been done before in Canada and Britain and from what I know, it can happen in the US but perhaps it is more difficult.

Bill H
July 10, 2013 6:43 pm

I hope the defense asks for total reimbursement of funds to defend this frivolous law suit and have the court issue an injunction which bars them from any further filings.

July 10, 2013 7:12 pm

Time for Congress to withdraw funding from the EPA – anything less is a betrayal of the people who voted for them.

Luther Wu
July 10, 2013 7:15 pm

There have been some number of recent opinion pieces in local OKC papers by enviro- types telling us that we need to switch to “affordable” wind power, etc.
After the state’s recent thrashing by tornadoes, there were quite a few opinions expressed in left- wing columns on the web in which the lefties were universally saying that those who suffered from the storms should be denied aid and they also called for shutting down OK military bases and other methods of depriving the state of federal monies, to teach us a lesson (because of the State’s conservative representation/opinions in Washington.)
The activists have us in their sights. Not only did they freely expressed their sentiments around the web (it sure looked like they all got the same memo,) it appears that their demands have now filtered over into the enforcement arm of the New Master Party.

July 10, 2013 7:24 pm

OG&E should just refuse to supply the local EPA office or its employee’s with power.

July 10, 2013 7:26 pm

David Middleton says:
July 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm
“Note that I made an assumption that this dealt with GHG emissions. The article doesn’t state this.”
Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
They set the game up that way, as best as they could.
Don’t feel bad, they are pro’s.
It was a set-up, logic and/or financial responsibility never entered into their thinking.

July 10, 2013 7:28 pm

Time to secede. If only Randy Brogden had won.

July 10, 2013 7:30 pm

Very likely part of the New Source Review EO that Clinton signed on his way out the door and Bush was too chicken to cancel. It’s also one of he reasons older plants do not do major upgrades. Also, the incident of fining the company for failure to anticipate emissions that didn’t happen is typical. The EPA has long sought to penalize companies and has in a number of regions for several decades attempted to rewrite regulations through compliance actions. I went through that 20 years ago with the BIF rule. EPA staff can admit to perjury and commit perjury in front of an Administrative Law Judge without any penalty.
The commenters who acted surprised shouldn’t be. Being bullied by environmental agencies is nothing new. About a third of the regulators are little no nothing tyrants. Just wait until you sit in the EPSA office of regulator who is costing your company an extra million bucks a year and smile while you wait for her to finish up conducting her real estate business.

July 10, 2013 7:44 pm

We’ve got to get more news outlets paying attention. What the people know about the people can object to, although by the sound of it, the EPA is becoming clearly seen for what it is. New political parties are needed, too.

July 10, 2013 7:50 pm

OG&E should send a circular letter to their customers, advising them of a 100% cut in CO2 emissions, commencing on August 11, 2013; resulting in a reduction in generating capacity from a peak of 6100 MW to whatever the wind provides; perhaps 170MW; but mostly about 20MW.
If customers can’t make the 97 to 99% cut in their electricity requirements, they should contact their local Congress-critters, Senators and State government representatives to put the EPA back into their padded cells.
Failing a withdrawal of the law suit by the EPA; OG&E senior management will be cashing in the “offsets” on CO2 emissions “avoided” by that measure.

Darren Potter
July 10, 2013 7:57 pm

Bob: “Just wait until you sit in the EPSA office of regulator who is costing your company an extra million bucks a year and smile while you wait for her to finish up conducting her real estate business.”
Sounds like personal use of Government resources, and for a Whistle Blower.

July 10, 2013 8:06 pm

When you open a thread asking for search help, then must close same thread within an hour, due to a flood of the correct answers, you just might be on to something.

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead
July 10, 2013 8:13 pm

Eric Worrall says:
July 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm
This is how politics occurs in totalitarian states – companies abused and bullied at the whim of politicians.
….except that these are not politicians. These are faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats flexing their whims, with a powerful mandate CREATED by politicians.

J. Sperry
July 10, 2013 8:24 pm

David Middleton says:
July 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm
“Note that I made an assumption that this dealt with GHG emissions. The article doesn’t state this.”
It’s safe to say that the lawsuit is not about greenhouse gas emissions. The link below includes a copy of the complaint, and it references NOx, SO2, and PM (nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter), all typical pollution considerations for coal-fired plants.

Phil M.
July 10, 2013 8:32 pm

This is about the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on this blog. And that’s saying a lot.
Why does Mr. Middleton assume this has to do with GHG emissions? Mr. Middleton himself states that EPA had no authority to regulate them when the work was done. It took me about five seconds on Google to find out that the lawsuit is related to sulfur dioxide emissions: http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Oklahoma_Gas_Electric_sued_by_EPA_over_projects_at/20130709_49_E1_Thefed212001
Is Mr. Middleton, or anyone on this blog, aware that coal-fired power plants are well-documented sources of all kinds of pollutants, including NOx, SOx and Hg?
Are the readers of this blog so disconnected from reality that they honestly believe the EPA files a lawsuit in Federal court simply to make a point?
The confused, rambling ideas blurted out on this blog are downright staggering sometimes.

July 10, 2013 8:45 pm

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
This is about the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on this blog.
too true. you’ve managed to surpass yourself.

Outrageous Ampersand
July 10, 2013 8:46 pm

This sort of thing can generally be describes as sucking royally.
However, look on the bright side. Physics tells us that gravity permeates the universe, and that if too much mass occupies too small a space, the force of gravity overcomes electron degeneracy pressure, forcing total collapse into a black hole.
After 200 odd years of growth, the federal government is rapidly reaching the point where it’s sheer mass overcomes it’s strength. Witness the IRS having no idea what underlings were doing, the NSA letting Snowden walk out, etc. It’s become so big that it can’t manage itself.
Eventually sheer mass will force it to collapse into a black hole. Now, as we know, anything within the vicinity of a black hole will get pulled inside as well, and while interesting from a scientific viewpoint, that sounds quite inconvenient.
Therefore, the only solution is to distance oneself as much as possible from the feds and let them collapse all on their own.

July 10, 2013 8:47 pm

@Janice Moore –
No, absotively posilutely NOT a coincidence, but retaliation to “punish your enemies,” as der Fuehrer is so fond of saying as he orders these atrocities upon the Constitution. And unfortunately, the courts cannot be trusted to protect people against them, as Supreme Court Chief Injustice John Roberts has so namby-pambily demonstrated in rulings regarding CO2 as a pollutant and the Unaffordable Care Act’s status as tax legislation. It’s gonna take state governments standing up to der Fuehrer and his satraps and saying, No you won’t, and being prepared to back that up with armed force. It may even take arming coal miners and workers at coal-fired plants to defend their workplaces when the EPA hatemongers come calling. After all, the Second Amendment gives them that right – and was adopted with the express purpose of enabling the people to resist oppressive government with all necessary force.
The EPA is a certifiable HATE GROUP, and it would be an appropriate action for the Oklahoma legislature and governor to enact a law so designating it. Who does the EPA hate and act out its hatred against? Businesspeople, citizens who use fossil fuel-generated electricity and drive motor vehicles, and people in general who believe in liberty and restraints on government behavior. If unrestrained, the EPA has the ability to wreak enormous destruction on the US economy and persecute any number of people,
In the Democratic Peoples Republic of Kalifornia (whose title shares its initials with those of the official name of North Korea, as well as indicating its general character nowadays) we have a similar, local HATE GROUP called the California Air Resources Board whose specialty is to attack anyone using diesel engines in their businesses and on their farms, based on a “study” that was proven to be without basis in fact and was “researched” by an impostor with fake credentials – CARB used the study KNOWING it was false and its author a charlatan.
Both of these agencies are hugely guilty of zillions of counts of conspiring to violate, and of violating, civil rights, and of extortion and racketeering, and most if not all of their functionaries rightfully ought to go to prison for long terms at hard labor. Even that’s too good for ’em.
@A.D. Everard – Wish it were so, but unfortunately, not enough people seem to recognize the threat from the EPA, and the CRL news media will cover up for and defend the hatemongers to their last breath

Dr. Bob
July 10, 2013 8:49 pm

Seems to me there is a scene from Ghost Busters that is appropriate here. “Yes he has no…”

Also this scene is appropriate:

July 10, 2013 8:50 pm

Luther Wu says:
July 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm
There have been some number of recent opinion pieces in local OKC papers by enviro- types telling us that we need to switch to “affordable” wind power, etc.
After the state’s recent thrashing by tornadoes, there were quite a few opinions
YOU MUST BE KIDDING! 300 foot tall cantilevered towers with propellors in tornado alley? What is the design air speed? Would they be insurable?

Mike McMillan
July 10, 2013 8:57 pm

EPA is too detached from the real world. I suggest their headquarters and personnel be moved out into the heartland to give them a better perspective. Lenexa, Kansas would be a good choice.

Luther Wu
July 10, 2013 9:02 pm

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
“Are the readers of this blog so disconnected from reality that they honestly believe the EPA files a lawsuit in Federal court simply to make a point?”
Are you talking about the EPA that declared CO2 a toxin, like Mercury or Arsenic?

Luther Wu
July 10, 2013 9:06 pm

Wayne Delbeke says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:50 pm
Nope. There are large wind farms all over the place out here. Several years ago, the statae Corporation Commission (regulates the utilities) more or less forced OG&E to build wind farms for future development.

July 10, 2013 9:12 pm

@Luther Wu –
How many whooping cranes have been killed by those turbines? Some of them must be astraddle their migration route.

July 10, 2013 9:14 pm

Phil M, listen up:
The EPA has morphed into a self-perpetuating bureaucracy that bases its decisions on politics and pseudo-science. It does nothing that the several States couldn’t do better, cheaper, and more efficiently.
The EPA was recently sued by a homeowner whose land was declared a “wetland” by a single EPA bureaucrat, for having a seasonal mud puddle on it. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the EPA lost.
When a government agency becomes as powerful and as out of control as the EPA, it needs to be completely abolished. The environment would do just fine without the EPA, which does not really care about snail darters and spotted owls, but instead loves the political power that comes from stomping on the little guy, and from extorting $millions from law-abiding businesses.
The EPA must go, and the sooner the better.

July 10, 2013 9:21 pm

@Latitude –
The Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws, i.e., outlawing past actions previously legal, and even more important, it also prohibits legislation by the executive branch, which is exactly what the EPA has done.
All of which is essentially irrelevant, however, so long as der Fuehrer and the EPA hate team consider themselves above any low.

July 10, 2013 9:25 pm

EPA are only acting out of concern for our future….LOL:
10 July: Guardian: Nafeez Ahmed: James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming
Without full decarbonisation by 2030, our global emissions pathway guarantees new era of catastrophic climate change
The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a “different, practically uninhabitable planet” by triggering a “low-end runaway greenhouse effect.” This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world’s best known climate scientist.
The paper due to be published later this month by Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A) focuses less on modelling than on empirical data about correlations between temperature, sea level and CO2 going back up to 66 million years…

July 10, 2013 9:50 pm

The USA would be much improved by the abolition of the EPA and the IRS.

July 10, 2013 9:56 pm

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
This is about the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on this blog. And that’s saying a lot.
The confused, rambling ideas blurted out on this blog are downright staggering sometimes.
You are so correct as others have noted. Off to look at the locations of wind farms in OK. I am staggered. Well maybe not, we have a few in Southern Alberta that seem to be able to handle 100 mph winds – but they don’t produce anything and so far as I am aware none have fallen down but I can’t imagine them withstanding a full blown tornado. Guess we’ll see. Empirical evidence is always the best.

July 10, 2013 9:56 pm

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
“The confused, rambling ideas blurted out on this blog are downright staggering sometimes.”
Glad someone took notice, or it might be for naught.

July 10, 2013 10:07 pm

From the Tulsa World article:

The complaint comes less than two weeks after the Sierra Club presented modeling analysis of the Muskogee and Sooner plants that apparently showed they violated standards for sulfur dioxide emissions.

I know OG&E well, they are a class act. However, they are also the target of some real radicals, including Sierra Club, numerous tribes & lefties in the Rockies. They don’t deserve this, they are good folks who do just what they are paid to do = produce electricity reliably and cost-effectively.

Janice Moore
July 10, 2013 10:11 pm

@ Mike Bromley — glad you made it back safely from the Middle East, via Vienna!
@ Outrageous Ampersand — welcome (again) — good for you to keep on posting!) — small comfort, but, I kinda of think somebody in the D’oh!bama administration knew about what was going on at IRS and NSA….
@Chad Wozniak — except for the armed resistance (at this point, anyway — not enough of the general U.S. population is galvanized to back them up against superior military force at this time) — I agree completely.
Eric Worrall: Time for Congress to withdraw funding from the EPA.
D. B. Stealey (a.k.a. Smokey): … it needs to be completely abolished… .”
JM: You can say that again!
EW: Time for Congress to withdraw funding from the EPA.
DB: it needs to be completely abolished
Pat: EPA are only acting out of concern for our future….LOL
@Luther Wu — That is so SICK. I hope you can just turn off the TV, not read any news for awhile, take a nice long walk along a country lane, listen to the robins and the meadowlarks, and just plain enjoy Oooooh-k-lah-homa. A person can only take so much exposure to that kind of evil. Hang in there, buddy.
@Ferdburple — NICE —- SLAM —- DUNK!
(Hm. Now there are TWO “Phils” who say stupid stuff — Phil dot and Philm — AND there was a mean teen-ager called Phil who kicked my hoppity-hop out from under me when I was a little kid! Ooooo, I don’t like those Phils…. wait a minute… I had a super-wonderful professor whose name was Phil….. meh, that’s only 1 out of 4 Phils — …. don’t like Phils (JUST KIDDING, all you kind, wise, decent Phils out there!). LOL, now that you’ve seen “Phil” written over and over, it doesn’t look like any name I’ve ever heard of — it’s turning into the abbreviation for “Philosophy.” OKAY, I AM STOPPING, NOW!

July 10, 2013 10:11 pm

@pat –
A paper by Hansen “scientific”? I’d like to know what sort of viper oil-hash oil blend those people at the Royal Society are smoking, and where they got it so I can find some and use it to kill some cockroaches. /sarc

July 10, 2013 10:24 pm

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
“Are the readers of this blog so disconnected from reality……
Disconnected is the wrong word, think out of the box.

July 10, 2013 10:33 pm

Your EPA sounds like a Division of Greenpeace. Frankly there should be a criminal action brought if this case is dismissed as ‘frivilous”. In the UK we have an offence of “wasting police time” for those who bring frivilous charges. Great deterent.
You may be interested – especially as your Green loons are wanting to invest in more wind turbines (in tornado alley? That should be interesting!). The latest row in Germany is because a proposal to erect fifteen of the obscene things near Frankfurt Airport has been blocked. Because those big whirly blades interfere with the Air Traffic Radar. Of course, Greenpeace feels the airport should be shut down, but I think they need to check the Climate Report for Hell. There’s no Ice Age developing there …

Janice Moore
July 10, 2013 10:42 pm

Hi, Wayne Expert Skier Delbeke — here’s just a little help with your question (from around 9:30PM today):
“Cut-out Speed – At very high wind speeds, typically between 45 and 80 mph, most wind turbines cease power generation and shut down.”
[Source: http://www.energybible.com/wind_energy/wind_speed.html
The windmills at Goldendale, WA (US) shut down at around 36 (sustained) mph winds (I didn’t verify this — just remembered, sort of, John F. Hultquist posting the stat about 2 weeks ago) — and at gusts of around 56, they shut down, also. The winds may have gusted up to 75 mph (higher?) at Goldendale (just north of the Columbia River). I don’t know if any have fallen over due to high winds.
Well, bottom line: regardless of whether or not windmills can survive a tornado, they are GROSSLY inefficient, actually, NEGATIVE energy-efficient and require tax payers to heavily subsidize their production cost (or they would not be built at all).

July 10, 2013 10:43 pm

So can people sue EPA for not accounting for “if they had commited to a serious offence of bloody murder”?

July 10, 2013 10:44 pm

OK – looks like the columns are designed to withstand 150 to 160 mph winds, the blades may be ripped off, but the towers seem to remain standing: http://zoomradar.com/blog/?p=954
Guess I over reacted. Pleasant surprise that the engineering design parameters met the test. Although these photos might suggest otherwise: https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/07/07/thunderstorm-damages-wind-turbines-in-lincoln-county/
Nevertheless, failure rates for wind turbines do correlate with wind speed, and with the size of the turbine – the bigger the turbine the greater the number of failures per year. O&M is critical as typical turbines experience several failures per year.
But I suppose the EPA isn’t worried about the impact of green energy regardless of the cost.

Janice Moore
July 10, 2013 10:53 pm

@ Gray Monk – “… the Climate Report for Hell” — LOL. Say, I think you are on to something there…. Remember how afraid (and why) the Wicked Witch of the East (or was it West? I forget) was of water, “Oh! …. I’m meeeelllting… .”
THAT is why the Enviro-nah-zee-s so fear warming (that they have delusions about it)! Their subconscious is telling them something! Heh, heh, heh….
Re: Greenpeace, yes, they and the EPA are one in spirit and both, I believe, are riddled with socialists whose main goal is to simply nationalize every industry in the U.S..

July 10, 2013 10:59 pm

…Bush was too chicken to cancel…
Say what you will about Bush II, but before 9 months after his inauguration, America experienced the terrorist attacks.

July 10, 2013 11:32 pm

PiperPaul says:
July 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm
…Bush was too chicken to cancel…
Say what you will about Bush II, but before 9 months after his inauguration, America experienced the terrorist attacks.
You are talking out of your ass, stop any time you wish.
Bush II never existed.
Never assume we won’t play for keeps, you loser.

July 11, 2013 12:14 am

OG&E should break up their plant and ship it to China, where it would be welcome.

July 11, 2013 1:02 am

There is absolutely no constitutional powers granted to Congress or the Executive branch to regulate the environment on a federal level. Accordingly, this power resides with the individual states to regulate environmental standards under Amendments #9 and #10 of the Constitution.
The US Federal government has become a gargantuan money pit of corruption and power mongers that is quickly destroying our wealth and freedoms.
The massive malinvestments and market inefficiencies caused by excessive: rules and regulations on land/labor/capital, taxes, government spending, annual deficits, money printing and excessively low interest rates has destroyed the US economy and its currency.
Until the public sector is shrunk to about 10% of GDP and most regulatory powers not granted to Congress are given back to the states, there is no way out of this mess.

July 11, 2013 1:04 am

PiperPaul [July 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm] says:
Say what you will about Bush II, but before 9 months after his inauguration, America experienced the terrorist attacks.

Seems a lot of people always forget that.
Interesting piece of trivia … Compare two Presidents who at approximately 8 months from their inaugurations had a major event that changed the course of their entire administration, not to mention the country and even the world …

Hoover ... Crash ... 238 days (34 weeks)
Bush 43 ... 9/11 ... 244 days (35 weeks)

Quite a coincidence and quite a dose of bad luck. Sudden uncontrolled events can change everything with no chance of ever going back to what was originally hoped or planned for.

July 11, 2013 1:29 am

I can’t see what difference the EPA regulations are making on co2 output for the planet. The increased use of natural gas and the recession appears to have had an effect. I only say this because the USA is EXPORTING record amounts of coal overseas, some of it being burnt by less regulated power firms. I also understand that the USA has the world’s largest coal reserves.

July 11, 2013 1:44 am

Is the EPA is making a difference? Maybe it’s fracking gas.

Record US coal exports fuel climate change debate
With cleaner-burning natural gas cutting into the US electricity mix, American coal companies have found an eager customer in the East, fueling urbanizing economies in Asia with cheap steelmaking coal. It’s why coal export terminals are emerging as a flash point in the fight against climate change……
Backers of the terminals scored a victory during Tuesday’s hearing when Army Corps of Engineers acting regulatory chief Jennifer Moyer told the subcommittee that the climate change impacts of burning coal abroad would not factor into the Corps’ environmental review of the proposals.

July 11, 2013 2:44 am

All the EPA need now is an equivalent individual to Andrei Vyshinski, the theatrical chief prosecutor in Stalins show trials of the 30’s.
Vyshinsky’s inspiring rhetoric would be appropriate to adapt for Obama’s environmental purge:
Shoot these rabid dogs. Death to this OG&E gang who hide their ferocious teeth, their eagle claws, from the people! Down with that vulture [Trotsky] Brian Alford, from whose mouth a bloody venom drips, putrefying the great ideals of Environmentalism [Marxism]!… Down with these abject animals! Let’s put an end once and for all to these miserable hybrids of foxes and pigs, these stinking corpses! Let’s exterminate the mad dogs of climate denial and capitalism [capitalism], who want to tear to pieces the flower of our new Obama [Soviet] nation! Let’s push the bestial hatred they bear our leaders back down their own throats!

July 11, 2013 3:07 am

sometimes u just have to laugh. this is one of the funniest articles i have ever read, to the very last….
10 July: InsideClimateNews: Katherine Bagley: Wealthy Donors in His Corner
as Obama Comes Out Swinging on Climate Change
“Obama is going to be a very young when he is done his second term,” Rabe
said. “Who knows what he’ll do next, but we’ve never seen a president so
engaged in ongoing fundraising. He’s continuing to court donors. It doesn’t
surprise me that their voices seem to have influenced this new agenda.”…

wayne Job
July 11, 2013 4:17 am

Call me radical but your main coal fired companies supplying power in America should talk to one another. They could tell the EPA they are closing their plants for a week or two to upgrade to ensure compliance with all their rules, but they are all closing at the same time. This would throw a cat among the pigeons and bring this sorry mob of little dictators to a bit of a pickle with Joe public. It is only Joe public and his opinion that can change things quickly.

Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2013 4:34 am

This EPA lawsuit is both mind-numbingly idiotic as well as constituting harrassment. It has absolutely nothing to do with protecting the environment, and will cost a great deal of the taxpayers’ money, and ultimately, ratepayers as well. It is all part of Zero’s War on Coal, and the Envirofascist Punishment Agency’s unconstitutional power-grab.
This time it had nothing to do with GHG’s. But, that is certainly where we are headed.

July 11, 2013 5:02 am

If you actually read the suit it’s about a missed opportunity to estimate future emissions and possible decreases as a result of different upgrade paths. As a result of failing to take these actions, emissions from the plants will be above limits in the near future. Doesn’t sound ridiculous at all when you tell people what the suit was actually about. But hey, this is WUWT where sea ice is recovering and oceans warm themselves, right?

July 11, 2013 5:18 am

“The EPA claims that OG&E failed to estimate emissions that did not occur. They are suing OG&E in an effort to force the company “to assess whether its projects were likely to result in a significant [GHG] emissions increase.”
The EPA had no authority to regulate GHG emissions when the work was done (2003 & 2006). The work (on boilers and turbine blade replacements) caused no emissions increase.”
Regulations force them to estimate emissions of SO2 and NOx. Your insertion of [GHG] into that line distorts the suit into something it isn’t. Read the suit, it’s pretty straightforward. OG&E failed to follow the law. It doesn’t matter what the emissions are today. It doesn’t matter if they went up or down. They still broke the law by failing to estimate them. If you don’t like the law, write your congressman.

July 11, 2013 5:28 am

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
> This is about the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on this blog. And that’s saying a lot.
So, why do you keep reading?
> Is Mr. Middleton, or anyone on this blog, aware that coal-fired power plants are well-documented sources of all kinds of pollutants, including NOx, SOx and Hg?
Of course we don’t. Why has it taken you so long to realize that? Don’t forget uranium and thorium, we don’t know about either. Does “all kinds” include things like Freons too? Perhaps we should extract those from the flue gas.
> Are the readers of this blog so disconnected from reality that they honestly believe the EPA files a lawsuit in Federal court simply to make a point?
Assuming that “The projects included replacement of turbine blades, parts of the boiler and replacement of the economizer,” shouldn’t change SO2 output, then yes, I believe the EPA is trying to assert its dominance over utility companies. What do you believe they are doing?
> The confused, rambling ideas blurted out on this blog are downright staggering sometimes.
Damn right. Don’t tell the EPA, but I’m planning to not release 1.00 tonnes of SO2 today.

July 11, 2013 5:29 am

It was Nixon and then Reagan who gave the EPA responsibility for ensuring clean air. Coal plants kill around six people per day with their toxic emissions and it is these toxic emissions that there is a legal requirement to estimate and report when ever ANY upgrade is made in the operation of a coal fired power plant.
Saying that they did the upgrade and afterwards measurement showed there was no change in emissions is NOT adequate. If you are doing something that kills so many people you have to make an estimate of how your actions may change that and test afterwards. If they had reported that the upgrade work would make no change and then measurement confirmed this there would be no case.
But because they carried out modifications without reporting what effect it might have on toxic emissions that cause deaths the energy company is in the wrong and almost certainly will get fined.
I am puzzled why this is an issue for WUWT. It has nothing to do with climate change, the legislation dates way back decades and is uncontroversial unless you think protecting American lives from coal plant toxins is a bad idea and an industry that causes 24000 deaths a year does not require regulation.
REPLY:Oh please. Please point to six people, any six people who have on their death certificates “killed by coal plant”. I grew up in a town with a coal fired power plant and I’m just fine. My friends are fine, my relatives are fine. The town thrives still.
Your assertion is nothing but regurgitated mindless activist talking points with no evidence to back it up, posted by an anonymous coward named “izen” too timid to stand behind his own words with his name.
Be as upset as you wish. But do show those death certificates before you comment again. – Anthony Watts

July 11, 2013 5:37 am

Just a “progressive” style of old-school mafia extortion. Coming from a government agency near you….

July 11, 2013 5:39 am

How many lives has the electricity provided by coal for hospitals etc saved? The air over the United States of America has never been cleaner, take a chill pill.

July 11, 2013 5:47 am

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
Former State Treasurer Scott Meacham acted wickedly in 2007. He was personally responsible for stopping the construction of a perfectly good coal fired power plant. I hold him responsible for the pain, suffering, and death that will result as the power shortages in Oklahoma worsen. http://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/article-949-state-treasurer-draws-fire-for-involvement-in-coal-plant-ad.html
“The most vocal opponents have been those who have a vested financial interest in seeing the plant powered by natural gas. Unfortunately, electric customers know too well how electricity generated by natural gas is subject to huge price swings—and it’s the consumer who winds up paying for it,” Myers said. “I think Mr. Meacham needs to deal with the responsibilities of the State Treasurer’s office and let those charged with handling utility and natural resource matters tend to theirs.”
The articles I link to fail to mention the millions already invested in the project. Meacham threw all that away. Oklahoma squandered what it had invested in planning and designing and proving the value of the new plant. Meacham and others with interests in natural gas argued for a gas fired turbine instead, but this was before gas prices fell, prices which will rise again. The coal plant probably still is the best option even today. Besides, where is the gas fired turbine plant? No where! Maybe in the future, especially given the EPA’s rabid assault on coal. In the mean time, Oklahoma is building windmills, in tornado alley, killing birds and bats daily, senselessly. OG&E had already invested significantly, and they approached the Corporation Commission to begin passing along those costs and the pending construction costs to me and other rate payers, to ramp up the cost increases slowly and at minimum impact. Good plan. I like my low rates. But Meacham’s grandstanding stopped the cost recovery. The CC refused OG&E, and OG&E did the only sensible thing. Abandon the plant rather than incur the excessive costs of borrowing the hundreds of millions required to complete the plant construction. They probably should have. It is the only way we Oklahomans will maintain a reliable power supply. It is the only way none of us will see our children in cold, dark operating rooms, wondering if the backup generators will kick in before our daughter dies.
I get emotional about these things. The greens claim they are trying to save the earth, but they are killing! They kill bats, birds, and all manner of creatures in their quest to cleanse the earth and appease Moloch, I mean Gaia, but worst of all they kill people. The greens efforts result in pain, suffering, and death today in the third world, and their efforts will result in more pain, suffering, and death as they continue to hinder the most basic of all needs, the need for affordable electricity.
Stop the EPA. It is the most dangerous thing known to mankind.

July 11, 2013 5:49 am

the Nothing, a mysterious power. This is the Never Ending Story.
Progressive – change, increasing the rate of occurrence step by step, moving forward.
To Sue a government is frivolous penalty of wrong doing. The Citizen taxpayer pays the bill.

July 11, 2013 5:50 am

EPA, the most dangerous thing known to mankind.

July 11, 2013 5:51 am

“The EPA is trying to force OG&E to file a report on how the 2003-2006 operations were likely to increase emissions in the future…” -Dave
That is completely false.

July 11, 2013 6:01 am

Ah yes, the proverbial “kills about six people.” How do you kill about six people? Oh, in the model, I see, it was actually 5.875324 people.
When the killed are virtual, and the actuality is that no one is harmed, then making a fuss about non-existent paperwork is strictly an exercise of power for power’s sake.
For a breath of fresh air, and a decidedly different view of government, I recommend that readers get the L. Neil Smith book, “The Probability Broach,” 1979. It has interesting commentary about the future of the EPA – written over three decades ago. There’s also a comic book version suitable for teens.

July 11, 2013 6:03 am

The EPA would have no such power-via-fiat if it weren’t for a complicit, fawning Press.
The jeopardy to our liberty from the CAGW scare is rooted in the ” Progressive” Main Stream Media. The MSM are the snow machines for the great snow job.

July 11, 2013 6:07 am

Good news on shale gas in the UK

Wall Street Journal – 10 July 2013
LONDON–Britain’s energy secretary on Wednesday advocated a public awareness campaign to promote shale gas and dispel the “myths” surrounding fracking, the controversial method for unlocking the natural gas.
The U.K. is hoping to replicate the success in the U.S., the only country so far to produce shale gas in large commercial quantities. The industry has dramatically reduced U.S. dependence on energy imports…….

J. Sperry
July 11, 2013 6:09 am

David Middleton says:
July 11, 2013 at 2:33 am
@ J. Sperry and Phil M,

I don’t disagree with your response to me, so it’s apparent you missed my point. (Believe me, I worked for a state EPA for over a decade, and had to deal with the federal beast often, so I know where you’re coming from.) This case has nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions. Nothing. Your original post was fine up until the point you injected GHG into the matter, and made an erroneous conclusion based on that. You ignore this fact at your peril.

Steve from Rockwood
July 11, 2013 6:11 am

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
This is about the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on this blog. And that’s saying a lot.
Phil, I read the article you linked to. It seems to me that the Sierra Club must be running the EPA.

July 11, 2013 6:17 am

The original post was simply wrong. You didn’t even bother to read the underlying documents which are publicly available before you posted. This has become a pattern with your posts – splashy headline followed by little substance.
Your most recent comment on this post is misleading at best. The modifications that OG&E made totaled more than $60 million, not a small sum even for a utility. They were designed to “greatly enhance the operability, efficiency, and maximum continuous net generation.” OG&E indicated to the Oklahoma authorities that should the modifications results in increased emissions of regulated pollutants (NOx, SOx, and particulate) they would adjust output to remain within emissions compliance for a period of 5 years.
That sounds good except EPA alleges that it was denied an opportunity to review the plan, to issue new permits if necessary, and to require that the best available control technology (BACT) be installed per the regulation. While the company has apparently been compliant with its existing operating permit, had a new permit been issued due to these modifications, the allowable emissions would likely have been reduced on the basis BACT. To the extent that excess emissions have occurred above what BACT would have yielded – there’s the foul. And according to EPA’s allegations, the only reason that OG&E is compliant with their permit is that they have habitually done an end around on the process that would trigger a permit review.
Is this a CO2 play on the part of EPA? Perhaps. I’m not familiar with the emissions control technologies for coal plants. If BACT technologies also address GHG emissions or if some regulation requires that new control technologies also address GHG emissions, then maybe that is what EPA is scheming. But it seems to me that EPA’s allegations are substantive on their own merit. I mean substantive under the law, of course, not necessarily substantive in regards to environmental consequences.
One thing is certain, “EPA sues Oklahoma utility for obeying the law” is a ridiculous and inaccurate title.

July 11, 2013 6:25 am

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
“Are the readers of this blog so disconnected from reality that they honestly believe the EPA files a lawsuit in Federal court simply to make a point?”
Do I honestly believe the EPA files lawsuits in Federal court simply to make a point? I know it for a fact.
About 20 years ago I was involved with litigation with Region 5 when they sought to rewrite rules through compliance actions. From inspection to conclusion in an EPA administrative law court we spent about 4 years and well north of $500,000 in legal fees. During the inspection I opened the CFR and read the pertinent rules to the inspector and demonstrated how we were in compliance with the rules. The EPA refused to negotiate a settlement on the complaint and we ended up in court. (Companies normally settle because it is much less expensive than litigation. The EPA relies on this because they would lose frequently if companies were willing to spend 5-10x the settlement and bad publicity that ensues.) During this period, EPA formerly rewrote and added new rules to cover the ones they alleged we violated. The upshot is that the ALJ found in favor of the company.
I cannot find the EPA’s complaint on OG&E, but I’d offer the following observations. If the repairs did not result in the increase in coal consumption, then their emissions increase would have been zero. Some regulators want the comparison based on a historical average and some allow you to compare to permit. In any event, if the SO2 emissions did not exceed the PSD increment (40tpy or 1 ug/m^3 for modeling) then there should have been no action required. Normally, the increment is not calculated from increased production rate that would have happened without the modification. All of this depends on who is looking at the permit. Environmental regulations are interpreted differently by region, state, state region and which permit engineer is reading the regulations.
The complaint seems to have been prompted by air modeling done by the Sierra Club. The company says they have actual data showing no increase in ambient air concentrations. Air modeling for NAAQS compliance is done to very specific protocols and very specific datasets supplied by the regulatory agency, or created by the modeler when the agency lacks the data. However, the agency must agree with the data generated by the modeler to be valid. Who knows what the Sierra Club did or what they used to get the results but I’m willing to bet they didn’t come close to doing it “by the books”. It is probably not worth the electrons they spent.
Phil M: I’ve been doing this environmental management thing for 30 years. I’ve written applications and managed compliance in air, solid and hazardous waste, NPDES and storm water. I’ve lost count of the number of applications I’ve written, but it is well north of 250. I currently have 6 active applications in 2 states and am managing 16 Title V air permits in 6 states. As usual, most folks, especially those with no real experience, know more than I.

François GM
July 11, 2013 6:28 am

: Gee. You really live in a Fantasy World. Good and Bad. Black and White. You the hero, us the evil ones. It ain’t so simple. Try nuance (I realize you may have to look it up in the dictionary).

David Schnare
July 11, 2013 6:41 am

I spent the last ten years with EPA as an air enforcement attorney bringing these kinds of cases. We brought them because we couldn’t find any cases to prosecute that would have actually resulted in pollution reduction. This case is a paperwork case. They brought it to create a deterrence for sloppy or non-reporting of potential emissions from routine maintenance and repair work. They were also hoping they could catch the company doing more than just routine work, an event that could force major increases in pollution controls. I ended my career with such a paperwork case. There was no violation of any actual pollution limit, but we obtained a $1.1 million dollars penalty. Paid for my retirement annuity. Might have scared other refinery lab managers into doing a bit better a job on paperwork. Didn’t make me proud.

Outrageous Ampersand
July 11, 2013 7:04 am

Thanks Janice!

Steve Oregon
July 11, 2013 7:34 am

The EPA can’t stop fracking
and Obama can’t stop energy independence.
Fracking Pushes U.S. Oil Output to Highest Since 1992
By Asjylyn Loder – Jul 10, 2013
“U.S. oil production jumped last week to the highest level since January 1992, cutting consumption of foreign fuel and putting the U.S. closer to energy independence.
Drilling techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pushed crude output up by 134,000 barrels, or 1.8 percent, to 7.401 million barrels a day in the seven days ended July 5, the Energy Information Administration said today.
Rising crude supplies from oilfields including North Dakota’s Bakken shale and the Eagle Ford in Texas have helped the U.S. become the world’s largest exporter of refined fuels including gasoline and diesel. The shale boom has also helped cut world reliance on OPEC oil even as global demand gains.”

Tom Barney
July 11, 2013 7:39 am

Since coal palnts probably save a 1000 people per day who rely on the electricity for their survival we are probably up a net 994 vs. the six who are supposedly killed.

July 11, 2013 7:42 am

@- REPLY:Oh please. Please point to six people, any six people who have on their death certificates “killed by coal plant”. I grew up in a town with a coal fired power plant and I’m just fine. My friends are fine, my relatives are fine. The town thrives still.
I know this site disputes elements of the science of climate change, but I did not think that this extends to the basic epidemiology of medical conditions.
There is absolutely NO dispute, doubt or controversy about the role of toxic emissions from coal fired plants in killing people.
The basic information is out there for anyone who can read a paper on increased morbidity from environmental factors at Pubmed. It has been known that burning coal is a killer since the London smogs of Dickensian times.
The assertion that there are no people with ‘killed by coal plant’ on their death certificates and this somehow justifies dismissing the role of toxic emissions in the deaths of thousands in the US every year is perhaps the most egregious and medically ignorant claim I have heard in quite a while. Perhaps you should look up the mortality and morbidity rates for the twon you grew up in, compare it with a similar town without a coal fired plant and look at the increased rates of cardiovascular disease and death, respiratory problems and rate of malignancies. As any medic will tell you the health impacts are obvious and trying to d… reject the existence of such impacts on human health from toxic compounds released by coal burning is profoundly wrong.

Dr. Bob
July 11, 2013 7:53 am

Perhaps this is an opportunity to apply “equal protection under the law” and force the EPA to sue wind turbine companies when they perform maintenance on their equipment to install the latest blade design to improve efficiency. Solar panel manufacturers should be forced to install immediate cleaning equipment to solar panels any time they perform maintenance on their instillation. As dust on the panel reduces efficiency, removal of that dust immediately is critical.
The EPA should sue electric vehicle manufacturers to replace batteries yearly as these batteries lose 20% of their charge storage capability each year and are essentially useless after 5 years. Therefore the designed performance and emissions from HEV & EV’s (including toxic CO2) increase continuously as the battery degrades. Replacement is mandatory to maintain designed performance of the vehicle.
BACT equally applied to wind, solar and EV’s would bankrupt them . That is why wind farms do not need to comply with the Endangered Species Act. Endangered bird “take” is part of their operational plan. Perhaps the next time they change oil on the turbine transmission the need to install radar that will sense when birds are in proximity of the turbine and immediately stop the blades to prevent taking of that bird. Fine of $250,000 is imposed for each “take”. Let’s see how the ratepayers like that source of “free” energy.

July 11, 2013 8:10 am

David Schnare says:
July 11, 2013 at 6:41 am
I spent the last ten years with EPA as an air enforcement attorney bringing these kinds of cases. We brought them because we couldn’t find any cases to prosecute that would have actually resulted in pollution reduction. This case is a paperwork case. They brought it to create a deterrence for sloppy or non-reporting of potential emissions from routine maintenance and repair work. They were also hoping they could catch the company doing more than just routine work, an event that could force major increases in pollution controls.
I hope Phil M reads this. Basically, the cases you describe are the permitee is following regulatory and permitting requirements and being forced into expensive litigation because the agency simply elects to screw with them. I’m willing to bet most of your victims elected to settle out of court to save litigation costs, so the agency had easy victories.

Chad B.
July 11, 2013 8:23 am

@ Chad Wozniak
Invocation of the 2nd amendment is not appropriate at this time. What is appropriate would be a new constitutional amendment:
Insomuch as the Senate is tasked with representing the several states, any laws passed which go against the desires of the majority of states represents a failure of the Senate to represent the wishes of its constituents. Therefore if any group of greater than one half of the governing bodies of the several states pass statutes requesting the abolition of a law, that law along with any regulations based on the law and any judicial judgments or interpretations resting on the law or regulations based on the law shall immediately be void. Additionally all punishments incurred in pursuit of the law will be revoked, violators exonerated and remunerations be made for takings incurred after greater than one third of the governing bodies request the abolition of the said law.
Good bye much of the authority given to unwanted bureaucracies.

July 11, 2013 8:31 am

David Schnare says:
July 11, 2013 at 6:41 am
And you wonder why some people consider lawyers a taxon within Hirudinea.

PeterB in Indianapolis
July 11, 2013 8:54 am

If this article were much better written in the first place, it MIGHT make a point.
However, the reality of the situation is as follows:
1. This has nothing to do with GHG emissions. The EPA hasn’t even published draft GHG emission regulations yet, much less promulgated anything.
2. This has everything to do with emissions of particulates, mercury, SO2, NOx, etc. Those are the major emissions of a coal-fired power plant which are already regulated.
3. Any significant changes at the plant beyond routine maintenance would generally automatically trigger a permit review. Spending 60 million on the project seems like quite a bit more than “routine maintenance” happened here.
4. BACT would not NECESSARILY come into play just because a permit review was triggered, but it COULD come into play. It depends on the specific details of what exactly OG&E was actually DOING, which isn’t at all made clear here.
5. If significant modifications beyond routine maintenance were indeed performed, and a permit review SHOULD have been done but WASN’T, then unfortunately, the EPA does have the right to haul OG&E off to court over this. If OG&E had had a permit review done, and had been able to SHOW in that permit review that there would be no significant increases in any emissions, THEN they would have nothing to worry about, but from this article, it at least SEEMS like they should have had a permit review and did not.
6. Regardless of whether any emissions increased or not, failure to have a permit review when one should have been done is pretty much an automatic ticket to court. Even if the modifications ended up DECREASING emissions of all regulated pollutants, that isn’t the point. The point is, every permit has qualifications in it specifying under what circumstances the permit must be reviewed, and if the review is not done PRIOR to the proposed project being done, then the permit has been violated – end of story.
As a result, it is quite possible that OG&E had no emissions increases whatsoever, and still very easily could have violated their permit.

McComber Boy
July 11, 2013 8:59 am

Nice one DesertY! Leeches indeed!

more soylent green!
July 11, 2013 8:59 am

Remember, we have a smarter government now. The president sez so.

PeterB in Indianapolis
July 11, 2013 9:01 am

To amplify my previous comment a bit further… I agree with the author that the EPA does indeed engage in “abusive behavior” at times, as the author states in one of his comments above. However, I don’t necessarily think that this particular case demonstrates “abusive behavior”. More than likely, whatever OG&E did should have triggered an automatic permit review, which very likely did NOT happen, in which case OG&E are in clear violation of their permit, regardless of whether emissions went up or down as a result of the project they did.
I know to some of you this may SOUND abusive, but remember the following from your childhood:
Mom & Dad “you can go outside and play as long as you let us know and we tell you it is ok”
You: Two days later decide to go out and play, since it is a nice day, but you forget to let mom or dad know what you are doing and just go ahead and go outside and play.
What was the outcome when you did that???
It seems fairly analogous to what is going on here.

Steve Oregon
July 11, 2013 9:30 am

Why would anyone be anti-government? 🙂

Gail Combs
July 11, 2013 9:39 am

Justthinkin says: @ July 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm
… When some clown shows up on my door step,and tells me I can’t grow my carrots because they are not “properly” spaced,well. I’ll leave it at that.
You may not have too long to wait.

Trojan Horse Law: The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
DeLauro’s own bill includes a broad jurisdictional provision that creates a presumption that home gardens do affect interstate commerce. Section 406 of the bill reads as follows: “PRESUMPTION. In any action to enforce the requirements of the food safety law, the connection with interstate commerce required for jurisdiction shall be presumed to exist.”
Lori Robertson of FactCheck.org, who is not a lawyer (she has a B.A. in advertising), claims the bill doesn’t apply to “that tomato plant in your backyard.” As a lawyer, I am skeptical of this claim (I co-represented the prevailing defendant in the last successful constitutional challenge to federal regulation under the interstate commerce clause, United States v. Morrison (2000), one of only two cases in 70 years in which a challenge was successful). Congress’s power under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause is almost unlimited in the eyes of the courts, and thus can reach the “tomato plant in your backyard.”….

That particular phrase did not make it into the final law. However a similar phrase did not make it into the original Animal Welfare law either but was quietly slipped back in a few years later as an amendment to another bill.
Just in case you doubt that is what the plans are:
USDA: People’s Garden
USDA and EPA Make People’s Garden Blossom

USDA Launches Database for Public to Sign-up and Show their People’s Gardens on Interactive Map
WASHINGTON – March 11, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today urged people across the Nation to start People’s Gardens in their communities and to register their gardens in the new People’s Garden database, a tool for USDA partners to showcase their People’s Gardens on an interactive map. This past year, thousands of USDA employees and partners heeded Secretary Vilsack’s call to give back to their communities by volunteering their time to participate in the department-wide People’s Garden initiative…..

These are community gardens BTW, at least so far although we find this Utah Garden Challenge Actually Government Registration In Disguise (Extreme right-wing) The Utah website does link to the USDA and signs you up for the USDA ag Census.
Some of the skuttlebutt floating around the internet (Extreme left-wing) was:
“…..Republican Paul Ryan has been privately circulating proposed legislation limiting the size and type private garden to “protect the fresh produce industry” from people growing their much of their own food. The Legislation includes a possible monetary Fine on people’s property if their garden is larger than a certain size as it would reclassify the property as a “farm” illegally located in a residential (non-agricultural) zoned area…..” True? Who knows I can find nothing else on the net about it but we do see this: Lawn and Order: The Silly War on Home Gardening Escalates
I do know that before the idea for Animal ID (NAIS) was floated and became generally known, the USDA sent an Ag Census to anyone who subscribed to a horse magazine or a seed catalog. (You can do a search for the form if you wish to see one) They are VERY intrusive and want a complete inventory of just about everything you own and if you did not fill it out you got badgered by the USDA and threatened with a fine.

PeterB in Indianapolis
July 11, 2013 10:13 am

David Middleton,
You have to realize the way that the EPA has always “worked”… It takes them 7-10 years to realize that a company like OG&E failed to have a timely permit review done…. Not necessarily malicious, just par-for-the-course bureaucracy.
I agree with your general thrust that the EPA is waging a “war on coal”, and more generally a “war on affordable energy”, but in this PARTICULAR case, I highly suspect that there was an actual permit violation on the part of OG&E, and the EPA finally got around to calling them on it.
In this case, it doesn’t actually matter whether OG&E’s emissions went up, went down, or stayed the same. If they made “significant changes” via construction without a proper permit review, then they violated their permit… it really is that simple. Permit rules have been like that for many, many years, and the EPA generally has a TON of bureaucratic inertia when it comes to dealing with cases like this, so regardless of who the President is at the time, it might well take EPA 7 years to get around to this sort of permit violation.
Is this “fair”?? Well, it depends on your definition. If you have an Air Permit from the EPA, you should know the contents of the permit well enough to know when it triggers an automatic review due to some large project you might be planning. Most large energy companies have “experts” on staff to find and deal with just such issues.
So, on your overall point that the EPA is being WAY over-zealous trying to do away with cheap, abundant energy… complete agreement, totally with you, absolutely. However, I just think that this OG&E kerfuffle is not necessarily the best example to use. It is pretty clear to me that the 60 million dollar project probably triggered an automatic permit review which OG&E apparently did not get done prior to starting (much less completing) said project, and, as such, their permit was indeed violated.

Gail Combs
July 11, 2013 10:14 am

Phil M. says:
July 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm
….Are the readers of this blog so disconnected from reality that they honestly believe the EPA files a lawsuit in Federal court simply to make a point?
You are missing one very very important point. OG&E DOES NOT GET A JURY TRIAL. As some one else said it goes before ‘an Administrative Law Judge’ another words someone else IN THE EPA on their side and not a neutral party from the public at large.
Folks this is THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT. It is where we lost our country and became ruled by a bunch of faceless bureaucrats.
Direct from the EPA website: http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/epas-administrative-law-judges
the Administrative Law Judges are:
Honorable Susan L. Biro
Honorable Barbara A. Gunning
Honorable M. Lisa Buschmann
Again from the EPA website

About the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)
What We Do
The Administrative Law Judges, located within the Office of the Administrator, conduct hearings and render decisions in proceedings between the EPA and persons, businesses, government entities, and other organizations which are or are alleged to be regulated under environmental laws….
Federal administrative law judges are certified by the Office of Personnel Management and appointed in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 3105. They have decisional independence pursuant to Section 557 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 557 which ensures the fair and impartial resolution of proceedings.
Decisions issued by the Administrative Law Judges are subject to review by the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). The Administrative Law Judge’s initial decision, which is a disposition of all of the issues in a proceeding, becomes the final order of the EPA within 45 days after service upon the parties unless a party appeals to the EAB or the EAB on its own initiative elects to review the initial decision.

If you are like me the first time I ran into this I was going BUT BUT BUT…

“Anyone accused of a crime in this country is entitled to a jury trial.”
The Constitution may say so but, in fact, this is simply not the case — and becoming less so as politicians fiddle with legal definitions and sentencing standards in order specifically to reduce the number of persons entitled to a trial….
….As Thomas Jefferson put it to Tom Paine in a 1789 letter, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” ….

Here is how the politicians have gotten around the US Constitution to make sure citizens are denied their right to a trial:

The Seventh Amendment, passed by the First Congress without debate, cured the omission by declaring that the right to a jury trial shall be preserved in common-law cases… The Supreme Court has, however, arrived at a more limited interpretation. It applies the amendment’s guarantee to the kinds of cases that “existed under the English common law when the amendment was adopted,” …
The right to trial by jury is not constitutionally guaranteed in certain classes of civil cases that are concededly “suits at common law,” particularly when “public” or governmental rights are at issue and if one cannot find eighteenth-century precedent for jury participation in those cases. Atlas Roofing Co. v. Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission (1977). Thus, Congress can lodge personal and property claims against the United States in non-Article III courts with no jury component. In addition, where practice as it existed in 1791 “provides no clear answer,” the rule is that “[o]nly those incidents which are regarded as fundamental, as inherent in and of the essence of the system of trial by jury, are placed beyond the reach of the legislature.” Markman v. Westview Instruments (1996). In those situations, too, the Seventh Amendment does not restrain congressional choice.
In contrast to the near-universal support for the civil jury trial in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, modern jurists consider civil jury trial neither “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,”

July 11, 2013 10:31 am

The alphabet agencies should at the least be held accountable to the same standards as private citizens: penalties for perjury, liable to civil suits for harassment and acts that deprive citiens of their civl rights. Additionally, none of them should be permitted to be militarized with SWAT teams, etc. They shouldhave to make a case before a judge to request assistance from a legitimately armed part of government if they believe police/paramilitary force may be required. Our civil service is over armed, over powered, and too ready to blame citizens for their frustrations and failures. This is a dangerous and likely to be deadly path. we must force our public workers back to the role of servants soon. Or else we will find ourselves their servants.

Gail Combs
July 11, 2013 10:38 am

I mentioned the Administrative Law Judges. Let’s see what we can find out about them as individuals:
The first one Honorable Susan L. Biro. Not very much available except this:

The Environmental Law Society of the University of Mississippi was created to promote discussion and awareness of environmental issues….. Our goals are to enhance legal education through the environmental law program at University of Mississippi Law School and to promote internships/externships and career opportunities in environmental law in both the public and private sectors in order to encourage the growth of environmental sustainability and stewardship. [So on board the UN Agenda 21 bus]
one of our members, April Killcreas, won first place in the American Bar Association Section of the Environment, Energy, and Resources ….with her paper entitled “The Power of Community Action: Environmental Injustice and Participatory Democracy in Mississippi.” ….we were once again honored by co-hosting with the Faculty the Honorable Susan L. Biro, Chief Administrative Law Judge of the EPA, ….a presentation …. entitled “War Stories from the Bench.” Our final event of the year was to co-host with the Faculty another great presentation based on an upcoming article entitled “Federal Constitutions, Global Governance, and the Role of Forests in Regulating Climate Change” by Professor Blake Hudson from the Stetson University College of Law.

Given the maxim that you can tell what a person is like by the company they keep, here is Professor Blake Hudson’s paper: Federal Constitutions, Global Governance, and the Role of Forests in Regulating Climate Change

Federal systems of government present more difficulties for international treaty formation than perhaps any other form of governance. Federal constitutions that grant subnational governments virtually exclusive regulatory authority over certain subject matter may constrain national governments during international negotiations – a national government that cannot constitutionally bind subnational governments to an international agreement cannot freely arrange its international obligations. While federal nations that grant subnational governments exclusive regulatory control obviously place value on stringent decentralization and the benefits it provides in those regulatory areas, the difficulty lies in striking a balance between global governance and constitutional decentralization in federal systems. Recent scholarship demonstrates that U.S. federalism, for example, may jeopardize international negotiations seeking to utilize certain mechanisms of global forest management to combat climate change….

Another Professor Blake Hudson paper Uncommon Approaches to Commons Problems: Nested Governance Commons and Climate Change

Natural capital resources crucial to combatting climate change are potentially subject to tragic overconsumption absent a requisite degree of vertical government regulation of resource appropriators and/or horizontal collective action among resource appropriators. In federal systems, these vertical and horizontal approaches may (or may not) take place in any one of four scales — local, state, national, and global — “nested” one within another. …. describing for the first time a number of legal authority and political action scenarios that may either resolve natural capital commons dilemmas….This convergent approach encourages the proper management of natural capital resources by more fully accounting for the complexities of the federal governance commons.

This does not give me the warm fuzzies about an environment lawyer turned EPA Judge.

Gail Combs
July 11, 2013 10:51 am

wayne Job says:
July 11, 2013 at 4:17 am
Call me radical but your main coal fired companies supplying power in America should talk to one another…..
And Obummer would immediately nationalize them….

more soylent green!
July 11, 2013 11:02 am

@PeterB in Indianapolis says: July 11, 2013 at 10:13 am
I believe the EPA can act on something pretty quickly if it matches their anti-industrial, anti-business, anti-capitalist far-left environmental agenda.
However, even if you are right about the EPA always working this way, you’re not going to convince many people this is the way it should work.

Kon Dealer
July 11, 2013 11:21 am

The EPA need to be told to sit and swivel on this one – and many others for that matter.

July 11, 2013 2:16 pm

EPA fabricates fatalities. EPA extrapolates dose-mortality response, routinely, ignoring the concept of Threshold Limit Value. This is how we got the famous “no safe amount of exposure” about Asbestos, where ship-builders exposed to 10,000 mg/m3 of air, who got sick, “proved” that schoolchildren exposed to no measurable amount at all were dropping like flies.
It is just bad science, and many at EPA know this, but remain silent for the sake of their pensions. Small doses of lots of toxins do NOTHING!!! Mercury, for instance….

July 11, 2013 2:53 pm

Izen says:
“There is absolutely NO dispute, doubt or controversy about the role of toxic emissions from coal fired plants in killing people.”
Of course there is. What izen means is: there is no doubt in Izen’s mind. Izen then goes off on a long emotional rant, bereft of any verifiable scientific facts.
No one argues that airborne particulates are desirable. But since cave dweller days, our ancestors have been breathing soot-laced air. Thus, our bodies have evolved to clean themselves. That is exactly what cilia in the lungs do. They sweep out particulates.
True, this natural cleansing can be overcome by smoking 20 – 100 cigarettes a day. But current outdoor air quality has so few manmade particulates that our bodies cannot distinguish it from air with natural particulates coming from vegetation, volcanoes, dust storms, wildfires, etc.
There is empirical proof that current air quality in the U.S. and the West is not a problem: people on average are now living much longer, healthier lives. Lung disease is not endemic. And I note that izen has not been able to identify one single person with the cause of death listed as “coal emissions”.
The EPA is now the major problem. It diverts resources from beneficial uses such as medicine, to lining the pockets of EPA bureaucrats. A more serious argument could be made that the EPA causes more death and disease than all the coal plants in the U.S.
But as economist Frederic Bastiat points out, it is a perception problem; a problem of ‘things seen and things not seen’. We do not see the lives saved due to the clean air emitted by power plants, or the lives saved by the health-producing effects of cheap coal-produced energy, cooling us in summer and warming us in winter. Instead, the EPA deliberately causes the price of energy to skyrocket, with all its concomitant ill effects on human health.

July 11, 2013 4:12 pm

The EPA complaint took a while to find.
EPA is charging that OGE performed a series of maintenance operations and did not estimate the emissions assuming more coal consumptions from the repairs. They indicated that OGE calculated emissions but told OKDEQ that they would limit operations so that they didn’t exceed PSD increments. EPA believes that the repairs would eliminate outages from failures and increase the efficiency thereby allowing the plants to run more hours and burn more coal, resulting in more emissions. EPA issued a Notice of Violation in April 2011 so this has been going on for a while. The resolution is that EPA wants the calculations from 2003 redone and resubmitted. I assume there are some civil penalties, not mentioned, involved.
Interesting squabble. If OGE’s calculations from the repairs had resulted in exceeding PSD increments from actual baseline, then they would have to repermit the plants with newer, more expensive emissions controls. These calculations use actual emissions as baselines and full operation calculations for future, whether they are practical or not. EPA says that operating limitations to avoid PSD increment triggers can’t be done. Permits with conditions that avoid Title V or PSD thresholds are routinely issued.
You might ask why OGE didn’t resolve this at NOV stage or why EPA didn’t want a settlement. Sounds like EPA is screwing with OGE.

July 11, 2013 4:57 pm

I agree, as David has also agreed, this is about the “classical” pollutants, not GHGs.
What it is about is that a coal plant deteriorates over time from its original design condition. Boiler tubes start wearing out, failing and causing more outages. The turbine blades and nozzles wear out, reducing power output. The result is fewer emissions because the unit produces less power. So the utility comes along, and finally spends the money, signficant sums I grant you, to replace boiler and turbine parts bringing the unit back up to its original design. Now it is more reliable and can now generate as much power as it was originally permitted for. But to EPA, the emissions are now “increased” because the unit can produce more overall emissions as compared to its deteriorated condition. The hourly rate of emissions did not increase over the original permitted limits, but the overall emissions can increase when compared to the emissions before the modifcations. So EPA sues just because you repaired the boiler. This is a tactic that originated with Clinton’s EPA and it has been used successfully many times to get a utility to agree to a consent order to add emissions controls, pay millions to community environmental projects and pay all the lawyers. It’s a scam using the bully pulpit of the EPA and a compliant judiciary. I think it sucks.

July 11, 2013 6:42 pm

What is even worse is that the EPA’s fines, attorney payments [done with a wink and a nod], and the payola to enviro groups comes straight out of the pockets of ratepayers. The public — no matter how poor — is forced to pay the skyrocketing energy costs that result.
The EPA is nothing but a thief, in collusion with other theives. The public is their mark. They do not give a damn about pollution, or they would never have designated CO2 as a “pollutant”; CO2 is no more a “pollutant” than H2O. Both are necessary to life on Earth.
They are crooks and scamsters, and they need to be shut down.

July 11, 2013 7:13 pm

On the matter of: “REPLY:Oh please. Please point to six people, any six people who have on their death certificates “killed by coal plant”.”
Death certificates of people who died from cancer tend to not say what caused the cancer. Death certificates for people who died from lung problems worsened by air pollution tend to not name the polluter.

July 11, 2013 9:21 pm

Death from coal is very difficult to establish. EPA verifies many causes of death with little or no evidence. Cancer from coal? Really? Site the data which establishes this. Lung Problems from Coal? Once again, what do you have? Is it from the EPA? Or is it from a source we could trust has no bias?
Coal power stations tend to have stacks several hundred feet high, which tends to dilute the stack gas pretty well. Tell us how the products of combustion of Coal produce Cancer and/or Lung Problems, if you are able, without citing the EPA itself, who for some reason might have an urge to state some untruth’s….

July 11, 2013 9:22 pm

Cite, so sorry…

July 12, 2013 8:51 am

Apropos of being sued for following the law, here is a famous poem:
The Incredible Bread Machine…
This is a legend of success and plunder
And a man, Tom Smith, who squelched world
Now, Smith, an inventor, had specialized
In toys. So, people were surprised
When they found that Smith, instead
Of making toys, was BAKING BREAD!
The way to make bread he’d conceived
Cost less than people could believe.
And not just make it! This device
Could, in addition, wrap and slice!
The price per loaf, one loaf or many:
The minuscule sum of under a penny.
Can you imagine what this meant?
Can you comprehend the consequent?
The first time yet the world well fed!
And all because of Tom Smith’s bread.
A citation from the President
For Smith’s amazing bread.
This and other honors too
Were heaped upon his head.
But isn’t it a wondrous thing
How quickly fame is flown?
Smith, the hero of today
Tomorrow, scarcely known.
Yes, the fickle years passed by;
Smith was a millionaire,
But Smith himself was now forgot
Though bread was everywhere.
People, asked from where it came,
Would very seldom know.
They would simply eat and ask,
“Was not it always so?”
However, Smith cared not a bit,
For millions ate his bread,
And “Everything is fine,” thought he,
“I am rich and they are fed!”
Everything was fine, he thought?
He reckoned not with fate.
Note the sequence of events
Starting on the date
On which the business tax went up.
Then, to a slight extent,
The price on every loaf rose too:
Up to one full cent!
“What’s going on?” the public cried,
“He’s guilty of pure plunder.
He has no right to get so rich
On other people’s hunger!”
(A prize cartoon depicted Smith
With fat and drooping jowls
Snatching bread from hungry babes
Indifferent to their howls!)
Well, since the Public does come first,
It could not be denied
That in matters such as this,
The Public must decide.
So, antitrust now took a hand.
Of course, it was appalled
At what it found was going on.
The “bread trust,” it was called.
Now this was getting serious.
So Smith felt that he must
Have a friendly interview
With the men in antitrust.
So, hat in hand, he went to them.
They’d surely been misled;
No rule of law had he defied.
But then their lawyer said:
The rule of law, in complex times,
Has proved itself deficient.
We much prefer the rule of men!
It’s vastly more efficient.
Now, let me state the present rules.
The lawyer then went on,
These very simpIe guidelines
You can rely upon:
You’re gouging on your prices if
You charge more than the rest.
But it’s unfair competition
If you think you can charge less.
A second point that we would make
To help avoid confusion:
Don’t try to charge the same amount:
That would be collusion!
You must compete. But not too much,
For if you do, you see,
Then the market would be yours
And that’s monopoly!”
Price too high? Or price too low?
Now, which charge did they make?
Well, they weren’t loath to charging both
With Public Good at stake!
In fact, they went one better
They charged “monopoly!”
No muss, no fuss, oh woe is us,
Egad, they charged all three!
“Five years in jail,” the judge then said.
“You’re lucky it’s not worse.
Robber Barons must be taught
Society Comes First!”
Now, bread is baked by government.
And as might be expected,
Everything is well controlled;
The public well protected.
True, loaves cost a dollar each.
But our leaders do their best.
The selling price is half a cent.
(Taxes pay the rest!)

Janice Moore
July 12, 2013 10:44 am

Thanks for sharing the fine research [7:10AM, today], Mr. Middleton, and thank you for shining a light on the EPA rats, hopefully, your efforts will make them scuttle back into the sewer they came from.
Economic Parasites Association
GREAT “poem,” D. B. (a.k.a. “Smokey”) Stealey.
Socialism in a nutshell.
“Capitalism — the unequal sharing of blessings;
Socialism — the equal sharing of misery.”
[paraphrasing Winston Churchill]

Janice Moore
July 12, 2013 10:46 am

Nice refutation of The Izen, Michael Moon.

July 12, 2013 3:06 pm

Thanks. EPA served a very useful function in the 1970’s-80’s, eliminating many excesses of industry. Now, not so much, an Agency searching for a raison d’etre. Obamination uses all his Agencies to push his agenda forward, although how harassing coal producers and users helps with “redistribution” is beyond me. Possibly he actually believes the CAGW meme, more likely he sees supporting it contributing cash to the DNC.

Janice Moore
July 12, 2013 5:39 pm

“Agency searching for a raison d’etre… .” [Moon at 3:06PM]
Well put. Like most labor unions (their usefulness largely ended a looooong time ago).
Yes, indeed, the EPA’s blood-sucking lawsuits = contrived self-justification in the course of the extortion of its lifeblood (cash). In a word, parasites.
LOL, the Puppet-in-Chief barely knows what country he’s in. Others do his thinking for him. He believes in only ONE thing: himself.
I think his handlers simply see CAGW as a means to: 1) wreck the U.S. economy to enhance the position of their socialist friends such as China; and 2) to CONTROL what is left. They could not care less about “the planet.” They do not agree with, but only use those who eco-religious beliefs enslave them to such teachings.
Getting kind of OT, but, the thread appears to be coming………to…………..an………………………………….end.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights