Economy, Regs, & Taxes

The Strategy of Obama's 'Clean Power' Play

He knew he'd lose in court, and that was part of the point.

Lewis Morris · Feb. 12, 2016

Barack Obama’s latest power grab was stopped cold earlier this week when the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The 5-4 ruling, which saw Justice Anthony Kennedy side with the conservatives, seemed to come as a shock to leftists and ecofascists. In the words of the New York Times’ editorial board, “The court is knee-deep in the partisan politics it claims to stand above.”

Funny how the Left sees the Supreme Court as being politicized only when its decisions run counter to the “progressive” agenda.

The stay was actually on the merits, despite claims made by the EPA, Obama’s White House, and others. It may have been unusual in that the Court acted without first letting a lower court first rule on the case, but time was of the essence.

The EPA forced the Clean Power Plan on the states as part of Obama’s grand scheme to lower carbon emissions. Proceeding from the fact that nearly 40% of America’s carbon emissions come from energy production, he believed that by going after energy producers now, he could both lower carbon emissions and keep the arbitrary (and ridiculously expensive) promises he made to his ecofascist friends in Paris back in December.

The plan called for states to develop plans that would cut carbon emissions by 10% by 2030. If they failed to develop such plans, then they would be forced to accept the EPA’s plan.

As the EPA was finalizing the details of its plan, it was necessary for the High Court to act right away on the request of the 27 states that opposed the Clean Power Plan. To not do so would mean that these states would be forced to spend money and move forward with implementation even while they fought legally to reverse the order.

To be sure, the Clean Power Plan wouldn’t have worked even if it were implemented. It would have driven the cost of electricity through the roof for consumers — it’s always consumers who end up paying for any new and excessive regulations.

The plan would not have made any dent in so-called manmade global warming, either. Its total impact on global temperature would have been around 0.02 degrees Celsius — and it would have taken billions of dollars and thousands of lost jobs in the coal and gas industries to make this meager cut.

But the impracticality of the Clean Power Plan is just part of the issue. What’s really going on is the Obama administration’s continued practice of flouting the law for its own ends. Going back to the EPA’s hope to ram through the Clean Power Plan before the courts had a chance to do anything about it, consider how often Obama has used the EPA to game the legal process for his own ends.

The Wall Street Journal points this out by reminding us of last year’s Michigan v. EPA ruling, in which the Court rejected a regulation on mercury emissions, only to have the EPA thumb its nose at the ruling, noting that it pretty much got most states to comply already.

The stay of the EPA’s most recent regulatory charade could very well be a signal by the Supreme Court that enough is enough. Of course, even if this stay ultimately leads to the Clean Power Plan being struck down, Obama may already have what he needs. Expect him to spin this action by the Court as a reason why Democrats have to come out in force in the fall and elect a Democrat to the White House so that more leftist ideologues can be appointed to the Supreme Court.

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