The grand jury decision and subsequent riots in Ferguson have been dominating the news coverage for the last few days. Meanwhile, in about 48 hours, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, one of our most cherished national holidays and a day when we probably won’t pay much attention to the news. It’s the perfect time for a politician to do something controversial, so of course, the Obama administration isn’t letting the opportunity pass them by. News broke yesterday that the President was getting ready to roll out 3,415 new regulations, and with other stories dominating the news in a usually slow news week, it’s probable that most Americans won’t hear this. The Daily Caller explains that Obama’s Unified Agenda for Fall 2014 “includes some 3,415 regulations– more than the last regulatory agenda, and one that includes 189 rules that cost more than $100 million.”. So what exactly is in the list of over 3,400 new regulations? The highlights include some controversial new EPA regulations that continue the agency’s power grab. As the article explains:
One of the most contentious rules is the Environmental Protection Agency rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants. According to the agenda, these rules will be finalized in 2015.
They have been criticized by Republicans and the coal industry for accelerating the demise of coal-fired power and for setting the stage for increases in electricity prices. Republicans, who are set to take control of the Senate next year, have vowed to fight EPA regulations.
A more pressing EPA rule set to be finalized is the so-called coal ash rule for coal-fired power plants. A final rule will be issued by Dec. 19, and could be bad news for the power sector, which will bear the brunt of $20.3 billion in compliance costs.
But probably the most fought-over rules to be finalized by the EPA next year will be its redefining of the “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The EPA will issue its redefinition next year, according to the agenda.
The Obama EPA’s power grabs have already received a lot of coverage here at RedState and our Salem compatriots at Townhall. The question we should be asking ourselves is, “Why is Obama waiting until a time like this to announce such a significant set of regulations?” I agree with Veronique de Rugy over at the National Review’s Corner that the answer has multiple parts. The first is that these new regulations are not very popular, and a week around a time like Thanksgiving, especially with the Ferguson grand jury announcement eating up a lot of the airwaves, is a perfect time to unveil an unpopular agenda like this. It’s also true that the bureaucrats who develop these rules are entirely unaccountable to the American people, and the agencies that employ them often do not perform adequate research on the consequences of regulations. They merely assume that more regulations are necessary.
With a Republican majority in both houses in the coming Congress, it’s important to make sure they push back against the Obama administration’s power grabs. The grassroots have been doing a great job of bringing it to the attention of Congress so far, but we need to keep up our efforts. Another important thing we can do, and de Rugy also mentions this, is pass an act like the REINS Act that the House passed a few years ago, which would increase Congress’ role in approving new regulations.
We cannot let up in the fight. Let’s make sure Congress fights back against the President and the EPA’s power grabs. We should also make sure elected officials at the state and local levels are equipped to push back as well. This is a fight with multiple fronts.