Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
I’ve been discussing cost-benefit analyses lately. The AP has the story of a Federal judge who has just made a most excellent and far-reaching ruling regarding EPA cost-benefit analyses. He said that the EPA has to include the cost of lost jobs in the economic part of the cost-benefit analysis of their proposed coal regulations.
Now, I was shocked, but not surprised, to find out that the EPA did not include such an obvious cost in their analysis. It highlights the problem I’ve pointed out with these speculative looks at the future—the choice of what to include is quite broad, and subject to political winds.
But not including lost jobs? Man, that’s just heartless. Makes me wonder if lost jobs are included in the so-called “Social Cost of Carbon” … but I digress.
So the backstory is, the Federal judge had said that the EPA had to include the cost of lost jobs in their analysis. True to the general lawlessness of the Obama Administration, the EPA simply hadn’t obeyed the judge’s order. So the judge asked why.
Here was the part that set my hair on fire. I thought this was just about the coal regulations. But the head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, obviously a current spokesmodel for the Peter Principle, said the following:
McCarthy asserted it would take the agency up to two years to devise a methodology to use to try to comply with the earlier ruling
Two years? World War II lasted four years for the US, and these wankers can’t put together a method to value lost jobs in two years? Glad they weren’t in charge back then … that’s just plain obstructionism.
The judge, understandably hit the roof. Among other things he said:
The judge said the EPA is required by law to analyze the economic impact on a continuing basis when enforcing the Clean Air Act and McCarthy’s response “evidences the continued hostility on the part of the EPA to acceptance of the mission established by Congress.”
Bailey ordered the EPA to identify facilities harmed by the regulations during the Obama presidency by July 1. That includes identifying facilities at risk of closure or reductions in employment.
… and …
The judge also set a Dec. 31 deadline for the EPA to provide documentation on how it is continuously evaluating the loss and shifts in employment that may result from administration and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
The winningest part of this whole thing is that the judge said it doesn’t just apply to the coal rules. It applies to the whole Clean Air Act and by inference all of the EPA’s regulations.
Not only that, but his order specifically applies to any and every facility harmed during the Obama Administration by EPA regulations. Zowie! So there can be no doubt that it extends at least that far and farther.
And this in turn opens the door to overturning a whole host of existing regulations. All that needs to be done is to show that the cost of lost jobs was NOT considered in the EPA finding, and it would have to be reviewed … by the new Administration.
Finally, the judge spoke directly to the heart of the matter, saying:
“EPA does not get to decide whether compliance with (the law) is good policy, or would lead to too many difficulties for the agency,” Bailey wrote. “It is time for the EPA to recognize that Congress makes the law, and EPA must not only enforce the law, it must obey it.”
Good days, my friends, good days. Perhaps the EPA can get back to the actual environmental issues that all of us care about, liberal and conservative alike, the real issues of clean air and clean water.
The AP article is here …
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