Domenech Claims about Clean Power Plan Detract from Serious Debate

Doug Domenech

by James A. Bacon

There is a principled conservative-libertarian argument to be made against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would compel Virginia’s electric utilities to cut CO2 emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. Unfortunately, Doug Domenech, Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources during the McDonnell administration, didn’t make it in a Sunday column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Indeed, by building his argument around at least three propositions that are either unsubstantiated or just plain wrong, he may have damaged the credibility of Clean Power Plan critics.

In the spirit of charity, let’s start with what Domenech gets right. He argues that the Clean Power Plan might be unconstitutional. I agree. A serious argument can be made that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) usurped Congressional authority by classifying  carbon-dioxide, a chemical essential to life, as a pollutant that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Twenty-seven states are suing the EPA on those grounds in a case that will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Until the high court rules, the constitutionality remains in limbo.

Domenech also argues that the Clean Power Plan will do little to effect climate change. Implementation of the plan will reduce projected global temperature increases by 0.018 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 and slow the rise in sea levels by the thickness of two sheets of paper. That’s for the entire U.S. The impact of Virginia’s adherence to the plan will be too small to measure. Even the EPA has conceded this reality, but argues that the U.S. cannot persuade other countries to restructure their energy economies unless the U.S. moves aggressively to decarbonize its own.

Domenech also raises a legitimate question: How much will the Clean Power Plan cost rate payers? Given that the plan calls for phasing out coal-fired power plants, the cost of which is already built into the rate base, and replacing them with gas, nuclear, wind or solar, which must be paid for anew, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the plan will drive up electricity costs here in Virginia.

However, he cites (without naming the source) a study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity which concludes that electricity rates will increase annually by 14% annually, or roughly 150% over 11 years. That forecast is an extreme outlier. The State Corporation Commission has estimated that Dominion Virginia Power electric rates could increase 20%, while environmentalists have argued, on the implausibly low side, that electric rate increases will be so negligible that, when combined with energy-conservation measures, Virginians will actually pay lower electric bills. Perhaps the most disinterested and credible source, PJM Interconnection, says that the final cost will depend on the particular regulatory regime Virginia chooses and, thus, is impossible to determine at this time.

But that’s nothing compared to two claims that are utterly unsupportable. As Virginia’s chief environmental regulator, Domenech should know better.

First, he gives DEQ and the private sector credit for reducing Virginia’s emissions of sulfur dioxide by 66%, nitrogen dioxide by 43% and carbon dioxide by 27% during the McDonnell administration between 2010 and 2014. “This was largely due to the efforts of the professionals at the Department of Environmental Quality and the actions of Virginia’s corporate citizens. … We were able to reduce CO2 27% without the heavy hand of the EPA.”

In truth, the hand of the EPA was very heavy indeed. In December 2011, about halfway through the McDonnell administration, the EPA finalized its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which regulated mercury and other toxic chemicals released into the air by coal combustion. The EPA rules cracked down on dirty coal emissions, forcing electric utilities to switch to other power sources, particularly natural gas, which emits roughly half the CO2 per unit of energy as coal. Much of the pollution reductions cited by Domenech came about as the power industry either anticipated and/or responded to the new standards by installing scrubbers or converting from coal to gas. For instance, Dominion converted two units at its Possum Point from coal to gas in 2013, and its entire Bremo plant from coal to gas in June 2014.

I was not covering the electric power industry back then, so I acknowledge the limitations of my knowledge. But if the EPA’s air toxic standards were not the driving force behind the decline in pollutants, what DEQ initiative was? Domenech provides no alternative explanation.

Secondly, Virginia’s former environmental chief blames the woes of Virginia’s coal industry on the Clean Power Plan: “With this EPA rule, we see the impacts on Virginia’s coal communities. Coal mines are being shut down, miners are losing their jobs, the dreams of coal families are being shattered, coal companies are filing for bankruptcy.” Even CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad profits are plummeting due to drops in coal volume.

That is stupefyingly, breath-takingly wrong. If he wants to blame government regulation, Domenech could plausibly cite the impact of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which with the fracking revolution and low price of natural gas pushed electric utilities to scrap dozens of coal-fired power plants around the country or convert them to gas. No question, that wave of regulation sharply reduced demand for steam coal. On top of that, export markets for steam and metallurgical coal (used in steel making) also have collapsed. But to blame the Clean Power Plan, which hasn’t resulted yet in the shut-down of a single coal-fired plant, for the current condition of the coal industry just isn’t credible. If Domenech wants to make a connection between the Clean Power Plan and the coal industry, he could plausibly argue that the plan will demolish future demand for coal, that it will destroy any hope of a coal industry recovery, and that the economic woes we see in the coalfields today will become even more widespread. But that’s not the argument he makes.

Over and above questions about its constitutionality, the Clean Power Plan raises important issues for Virginians. The plan will engender complex trade-offs between costs to rate payers, the reliability of the electric grid and the environmental benefit of shifting to low-carbon or zero-carbon power sources. To what extent should we diversify our fuel sources? How rapidly will demand for electric power increase, how much new capacity should we build, and who will pay for that capacity if we build too much? To what extent should we purchase electricity in wholesale energy markets, and can we build enough electric transmission lines (which nobody likes) to accommodate the large-scale wheeling of power across state lines? What kind of grid is more resilient in the face of cyber-sabotage, terrorist attacks or natural calamities — the Big Grid vision of large power plants and large transmission lines, or a small-is-beautiful vision in which householders and businesses generate much of their own roof-top power?

These are the kinds of questions I’m asking at Bacon’s Rebellion. Conservatives and Republicans can either be part of a serious discussion or they can throw dust  in the air to distract the electorate. Sadly, the misinformation in Domenech’s op-ed is so easily debunked that it’s hard to take him seriously. Republican legislators would be well advised not to fall into the same trap.

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24 responses to “Domenech Claims about Clean Power Plan Detract from Serious Debate”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    Good LORD! Bacon “gets it” and takes a truly principled stand and calls out the really scurrilous false narratives coming from the rabid right!

    Congrats! and my apologies ahead of time for the heat you’re surely going to get from the righties who now infest BR!


    but you still get things wrong. It’s no more “UnConstitutional” than the prior things that the EPA regulated and it’s disingenuous to boot because it just totally ignores the EPA ROI numbers for reduced health impacts by reducing emissions.. It’s like the opponents refuse to acknowledge that these numbers even exist.

    Finally – this is not going to cost consumers of electricity anything if they adopt more fuel efficient technologies – JUST LIKE WE DID with the EPA auto emission standards that led directly to more fuel efficient cars – to the point where that fuel efficiency actually damaged the funding regime for transportation infrastructure!

    over and over and over through the years – as the EPA has regulated and reduced harmful – and costly substances – like lead in gasoline – the “anti” folks have made this discredited argument about regulation and costs – and each time ignoring the costs of the harm of the substances to be regulated and reduced.

    the right essentially argues that substances like Kepon should not be banned because the “harm” is “minimal” and not “felt”.

    And we just had a post about a state rock that totally ignored it’s role in significantly damaging a river like it never happened except for that pesky superfund site.

    I give credit to Jim for refusing to swallow the obvious falsehoods – but he still accepts the more subtle but equally questionable ones.. so one step forward and two steps back…

    1. You can fervently believe in the constitutionality of the Clean Power Plan, and I can just as fervently believe that it’s unconstitutional. Reasonable arguments can be made either way; you can’t dismiss lawsuits from 29 states as the work of right-wing whack jobs. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you and I think — it matters what 5 out of 9 Supreme Court justices think.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        the problem with “believing” is the truth and the reality and the behavior of those who “believe” and when the SCOTUS goes the “wrong” way these days – those same people then talk about “illegal” behavior of the SCOTUS and want to change the way the SCOTUS itself is appointed to have them voted off and/or removed.

        the basis of the State’s challenge if I understand it, is that the CPP violates the 5th and 10th amendments which if that is upheld would mean that virtually all Federal regulation of activities in States would become “illegal” – way, way more than just the CPP – virtually every facet of regulation from Interstate highways to HIPPA to OSHA to Federal food and safety, etc would be overturned in effect – and ONLY the commerce between states not within them – “legal”.

        It seems to be the old State’s Rights argument – once again and what the States really wanted was a “stay” until the 2016 elections where they hoped the right outcome would result in administration changes to the EPA.

        again – we all have the “right” to “believe” .. but at some point – reconciling it with realities is a required healthy thing.. and not doing that – puts one on a slippery slope to letting beliefs start to question things like basic science and other rational thought.

        to me – that’s when things start to feel a little “whacky” at least to me and it leads to positions like Mr. Domenech is espousing and Jim is rational enough to realize just how slippery a slope Mr. Domenech is on – in part…

        there is no question in my mind that if you take Mr. Domenech entire position – and accept it – that probably even Jim would consider it a “whack job”.


        when the same folks who deny science – also deny a hundred years of law-making by Congress… we get to a different place – a place where beliefs overcome realities.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    you know – you look at a guy like Domenech and you DO WONDER how he can just flat out lie like he is doing.

    what drives him inside – his philosophy – that allows him to do that?

    how can anyone claim to be principled – have integrity – stand for what you believe – and justify this kind of behavior?

    it’s one of the things that totally boggles my mind.. about some Conservatives…folks who claim to be .. what? rational and conscientious?

    it’s almost like truth and reality – are not real values… that they don’t matter because something more important than those things are at stake – but what in the DOODA is it?

    how can we have any kind of rational and substantiative conversation about issues – much less try to find compromise when this is how some folks approach the issues?

  3. Good post. The CPP may be wrong-headed, even unconstitutional, but it may have little effect when all is said and done, because it aligns with what is happening anyway. Greater generation efficiencies and cheap natural gas and advances in renewable resource generation, as well as other medical concerns with coal-burning, e.g., mercury emissions, are taking the electric industry already to where the CPP would have it go.

    As for the reduction in atmospheric CO2 that the CPP might be credited with achieving from diminished U.S. coal-fired electricity generation, perhaps we should keep what’s being achieved in perspective. The mines in the east have shut down largely because western coal is cheaper to mine, and because no one is building new coal plants for the reasons already stated, and because western coal is closest to its big market, which isn’t even in the U.S. Most of the western coal we have ceased burning in the U.S. is being shipped to China, where it is burned with far less environmental protection than here, and dumping at least as much CO2 into the SAME atmosphere (from a global-warming point of view). If it weren’t for the current Chinese economic recession, the world-wide use of coal would be INCREASING dramatically.

    Yes, there are big energy tradeoffs ahead. The current natural gas glut won’t last forever; cheap oil prices won’t either; global warming is real and the entire world collectively (not just the U.S. and Europe) must deal with CO2 emissions or come to grips with relocating massive portions of its coastal populations during our children’s lifetimes. A stronger and more flexible Grid must be part of facing those problems; renewable resource generation is part of the solution but we need the Grid too, including those massive transmission lines. And of course greater efficiency in the way we use energy. And a flatter, more efficient daily demand curve, including electric cars to replace fossil fueled ones, and efficient central-station generation to recharge them from the Grid at night.

    As for Domenech’s absurd claims on behalf of the McDonnell administration, I don’t care if he wants to give himself a bureaucratic pat on the back for results that came about entirely without him! He only embarrasses those sincerely working for improvements; at least he didn’t get in the way of needed changes. But now, let’s hear from the administration elected on a platform of energy sensibility. Where are the McAuliffe bureaucrats when it comes to PROMOTING renewables, and distributed generation, and electric vehicles and batteries, and eliminating obstacles like building codes that deter distributed solar, and similar developments that COULD help make a difference?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Well, I don’t think the CPP is any more “un-Constitutional” than the dozens of other like-minded claims flying through the air these days and the SCOTUS did rule quite recently if not mistaken that the EPA – CAN regulate CO2 …and greenhouse gases so where does the “un-Constitutional come from? – but hey… we’ll just remove those Justices.. we don’t agree with anyhow!

      hells bells – we’re talking about DEPORTING -US Citizens -right?

      just over the top craziness these days – from all sorts of folks…

      1. Larry, it’s no exaggeration or fringe conservative view to find serious Constitutional issues with the CPP. It has to do with the way the EPA has chosen to implement these coal emissions restrictions by directing the States and State regulatory agencies to do X, Y and Z. Let’s assume that EPA could limit coal emissions itself; the mechanism it has chosen to use, appropriating State agencies to do the fed’s work, is highly suspect. It wasn’t that long ago (1982) when the Supreme Ct divided 5-3-1 on this question of how to apply the 10th Amendment; in that case (FERC v Mississippi) it affirmed solely because it found that the federal statute’s intrusion into State affairs was limited to procedural requirements and, most importantly, left the States with total discretion to ignore the federal directive once it held hearings and created a record on the matter. Here, the federal directives are far more intrusive, they cannot be ignored by a State, and we don’t even have clear Congressional authority for what EPA has done, which also raises questions of executive authority to act unilaterally and of directing States to do all this without any federal funding to enable all that activity. All this, and we haven’t even reached the question of what, substantively, EPA is requiring the States to do.

        I’m sure you’ve seen similar federal-State fussing over federal education requirements and regulations and who’s-in-charge-here lawsuits. You are right, by the way, that federal CO2 rules have been challenged and federal authority to regulate CO2 has been sustained. But the CPP is so broad, and so novel, it raises all sorts of other respectable constitutional questions. It’s a shame that Congress is so deadlocked it can’t simply straighten all this out and avoid all the litigation and uncertainty with a clearcut federal legislative directive and funding to EPA, or else expressly repeal its authority, but that’s not going to happen.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Acbar – I know you do have a formal legal education – and I do not –

          but do you REALLY THINK that virtually every law from the one that regulates Interstate highways to food and safety laws – to the FCC and FAA , etc. that anything more than “procedural” is a violation of the 1oth amendment?

          remember – it’s Congress that has passed these laws in the first place over a hundred years or more – with the express intent to impose Federal regulations.

          If I understand the 10th amendment issue – even Federal Civil Rights law would be an illegal intrusion into State’s Rights.

          Perhaps you can explain the difference between the Federal regulations that are Constitutional and the ones that are not.

          To me – the fundamental underpinnings of Federal regulation that is the law – in the states – is at question for everything not just some things.

          the challenge seems to be saying that some Federal regulation is okay but not others… and I ask – on what basis is such a distinction being made? Can you point to a bright line in CPP where part of it is “legal” and then somewhere in it – that bright line has been crossed… ?


          1. “If I understand the 10th amendment issue – even Federal Civil Rights law would be an illegal intrusion into State’s Rights. Perhaps you can explain the difference between the Federal regulations that are Constitutional and the ones that are not. . . . The challenge seems to be saying that some Federal regulation is okay but not others… and I ask – on what basis is such a distinction being made? Can you point to a bright line in CPP where part of it is “legal” and then somewhere in it – that bright line has been crossed… ?”

            Larry, I take your question as sincere not sarcastic, and therefore worth a long answer. But not a law school course, just an answer.

            The 10th amendment says (exact, full quote): “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” It was included in the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution shortly after adoption. Many people felt it was totally unnecessary to say this as it was a “truism” already implied by the rest of the Constitution: that is, if the Constitution didn’t grant specific authority to the feds, that authority remained with the States; but others felt this restriction needed to be stated because there was already a large body of “common law” (not always written down) in England, and inherited by the Colonies, which the courts frequently drew upon to deal with unprecedented situations, and they wanted to ensure that the concept of “federal common law” or any other use of unwritten or “traditional” law by the federal government or courts was expressly prohibited.

            So, what did the Constitution expressly delegate to the federal government? The main areas given exclusively to the feds were: maintain armed forces and declare war, establish foreign policy, regulate interstate commerce, deal with copyrights and patents, coin money, set up a post office. And, jointly with the States, the feds can raise taxes, provide for public welfare, borrow money, build roads, and pass criminal laws. Two areas traditionally NOT included are establish schools and provide for public safety. And the 14th/15th Amendments overlaid onto all that a requirement that the federal government must act using “due process of law” and assure “equal protection under the law.”

            Now, to answer your question. Congress can pass laws in the first two categories: powers given exclusively or jointly to the feds. It is a principle of modern government that if Congress can pass a law concerning anything, it can delegate its authority to pass laws (aka “regulations”) by an agency created under one of its laws. The law by which Congress delegates to an agency must do two things: it must set out what the agency is charged to do (i.e., the limits of its delegated authority), and it much deal with the agency’s structure and procedure (usually this is done by incorporating by reference the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a template for federal agencies created in the 1930s that sets up a standard administrative process).

            So, when you look at the EPA, the Constitutional questions are these: 1. is it an authority granted to Congress in the first place? Yes; there have been many fights in the courts over what “interstate commerce” and “public welfare” embrace but those two categories have basically been upheld to include environmental laws and regulations. 2. is it an authority granted both to Congress and the States and Congress is somehow intruding on the States’ collateral exercise of that authority? Maybe; the Clean Air/Clean Water Acts go out of their way to defer to the States in some respects but they dictates terms to the States in other respects; lots of room for fights over that. 3. is the process Constitutional? Well, the EPA is supposed to carry out its functions in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act, and the APA itself has been upheld as Constitutional many times, so the EPA should be OK if it complied with the APA. But there are many allegations that it didn’t comply with the APA — that is, didn’t give adequate notice of hearings, or didn’t hold hearings after it rewrote its proposed rules, etc. etc., or that it improperly delegated federal functions to the States (and thus to State agencies) that don’t follow procedural rules that are sufficient under the APA to pass federal agency muster. All of these are challengeable “offenses” in the courts.

            Finally, you ask, “Can you point to a bright line in CPP where part of it is “legal” and then somewhere in it – that bright line has been crossed… ?” Short answer, no, there is no bright line; if it were so simple as a bright line it would have been litigated and resolved long ago. Most of these are subtle questions. But you can do a flow chart: IF the EPA agency itself is Constitutional, and IF the task delegated to the EPA is Constitutional, and IF the due process employed by the EPA is Constitutional, and if the end result affords equal protection to all citizens, it should be OK. The first two were decided long ago. The second two, as to the CPP, is still debated.

            In addition to the Constitution, which limits what the feds COULD do, there is the question of what Congress, by law, DID entrust the EPA to do. If you start with the proposition that the EPA is allowed by the Constitution to regulate harm to the environmental, the question of regulation of CO2 emissions is not a Constitutional authority question but a specific statutory delegation question: somewhere in the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, did Congress delegate to the EPA the task of regulating CO2 emissions? That, too, is still being debated in the courts, though in general it seems to have been settled in EPA’s favor. As I mentioned, the laws are hundreds of pages long and obtuse as hell, but they seem to allow what the EPA has done in the CPP. Obviously, with billions of dollars of compliance costs at stake, the States and the utilities are arguing over every word.

            That’s my summary of the situation — does that help?

  4. I don’t know Mr. Domentech but of more importance is what our current Gov and GA are thinking about how to comply with the CPP. Actually there is no need to rush to a final solution as most states are expected to request a 2-yr extension to 2018 to submit final plans. 2018 is also when experts are expecting the court cases to resolve.

    We do need some leadership direction, and my suggested direction would be to not close off any options at this juncture.

    In one sense, Virginia is in pretty good shape re: the CO2 as about 45% of our coal capacity is slated to shut down by about 2022, even before the Clean Power Plan kicks in.

    However, a potential problem for Virginia is divided politics. The Clean Power Plan is unique in that it gives a new role to the states – not power companies – to meet the EPA CO2 regulations. Failure to come to our own Virginia solution by about 2018 guarantees we get instead the EPA’s solution for Virginia, assuming the EPA regulation stands up in court.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” However, a potential problem for Virginia is divided politics. ”

    the opponents have left zero opportunity to work towards any kind of compromise at all.

    it’s 100% “fight it to the end” ignorance – just as the Medicaid Expansion is.

    Over the years from the inception of the EPA – time after time – on every effort to deal with the environment – this same group of folks comes out to – essentially try to destroy any semblance of a way forward – and in today’s politics -it seems they do succeed.

    only when enough people stand up and reject this – will we find some reasonable agreement on how to move forward.

    it’s a shame – but the simple truth is – that with today’s politics they can and will turn this into a way to widen the wedge ..

    and the Va GA should be ashamed of themselves.. no more grown-ups.

    1. It’s perfectly obvious, the people who concocted the federal executive-action scheme to send all this to the States to implement, knew exactly what they were asking EPA to do, and also knew exactly how many or most of the States would react to having their hands tied by the feds, even if they agree with the goal.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Acbar – can you explain how what the CPP is doing is fundamentally different than what virtually all other Federal regulation that affects the states – does.

        where does the authority of the Feds to regulate – stop – and what is the reason?

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Acbar – would you AGREE that what the opponents of CPP are advocating is not just the existence of the CPP but the BASIS for the existence of the CPP – and, in turn, the basis for virtually all other Federal regulation that is imposed on states?

          if that is not the case – then can you show why the CPP is “illegal” and say – the Safe Water Drinking Act or the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup is not?


        2. My past experience was when New Jersey solved its trash importation problem by taking charge of the state boundaries, and we blocked imports. About 10-yrs later the US Supreme Court struck down the NJ system on the basis of interstate commerce laws. But by then the problem was solved for NJ. Thus to me this is an unusual but powerful idea to have state control within the state boundaries.

          The issue for CPP, we have no state mechanism/staff experienced to implement such an edict, and EPA gave us tight deadlines and many possibilities to explore. And we have a purple state with bitter dispute already.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Tbill – did you see the UVA analysis?


            it looks to me that we DO HAVE the expertise to properly evaluate… and I thought we had a 2 year extension starting in sept, no?

          2. Yes Nice report. Yes the draft state plan is due Sept_2016 but most states are expected to file for 2-yr extension. Extension needed in my view to explore possible PJM regional approach(es), etc.

            Among other things, the Cooper report suggests that Virginia utilities have already committed to 15% renewables by 2030. This 15% can be either in-state construction or purchase of renewable power credits from outside Virginia.

            I was not aware of that pledge, but if it still holds, we gotta be close to meeting CPP requirements. Recently the Va. enviro-groups are basically lobbying for a change up to a 30% renewables mandate, in so many words.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        this type of thing is and has been a common feature of regulation for decades – perhaps a century where the Feds will provide money for something – with strings attached.

        Federal Highway money works this way as does Medicaid as well as does Education money.


        still trying to figure out what the distinction is between CPP and these other things – and whether the argument is unique to CPP or applies much more broadly to a lot of other regulation.

        what say you?

        if, in fact, it DOES apply to a lot of other regulation – don’t you think that folks that make this argument should acknowledge that what they are really advocating for – is a huge change that has wide impacts and not just the CPP?

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” we gotta be close to meeting CPP requirements. Recently the Va. enviro-groups are basically lobbying for a change up to a 30% renewables mandate, in so many words.”

    so .. Mr. Domenech’s claims are what? how would we characterize them?

    the enviro-weenies? who cares?

    we got wacko-birds …left and right…

    what’s the reasonable middle ground – Mr. Domenech’s approach?

  7. Rowinguy Avatar

    Excellent rebuttal, Mr. Bacon. Here’s a little background on Mr. Domenech’s current employer, the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    looks like SCOTUS has indeed stopped the CPP……

    1. Wow Larry…that is an unexpected outcome at this time. I did not have an inkling the SCOTUS would take that action.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        me neither – but silver lining – maybe – the rhetoric might cool a bit!!!

        the thing that go me in the reporting was this:

        ” The justices’ action marks the second time recently that an executive action taken by the Obama administration has been stalled in the courts.”

        but that executive order the CPP was based on – was created in 1970 – 45 years ago.

        …. .” Arguing that “the EPA has exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act” (the 1970 federal law from which EPA claims authority for the CPP),

        here are the actions – far more than just Obama – that have been taken – based on the original 1970 law – executed via executive orders:

        1970: The Environmental Protection Agency is formed by President Richard Nixon under its first Administrator, William D. Ruckelshaus.

        1970: Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to set standards for pollution, auto emissions and air quality.

        1972: EPA bans the pesticide DDT.

        1972: Clean Water Act passed by Congress.

        1972: Ocean Dumping Act passed, allowing EPA to restrict ocean pollution.

        1973: Transportation controls established in cities, such as carpool and bus lanes.

        1973: EPA begins to gradually decrease lead in gasoline.

        1974: Safe Drinking Water Act passed, allowing EPA to regulate drinking water quality.

        1979: EPA chosen to monitor radiation levels after Three Mile Island incident.

        1982: Nuclear Waste Policy Act passed, allowing for safe disposal of nuclear waste.

        1986: Safe Drinking Water Act regulations tightened through amendments passed by Congress.

        1990: Pollution Prevention Act passed.

        1996: Leaded gasoline completely phased out.

        1996: Renters and home buyers required to be informed about lead-based paint hazards.

        2007: BP pays largest environmental fine in history, $62 million.

        I look back on these things that today most of us take for granted and would not support repeal of -…. even though at the time – each one was vociferously fought by industry and many conservatives …

        and each time – the opponents claimed the EPA “had gone too far”.

        so this is going to drag on … twist in the wind – lurge into the next POTUS watch – and we’ll see what happens.

        In the meantime – wind and solar and demand-side energy efficiency technology is going to advance and going to affect the utilities business models… that rely primarily on selling more electricity for their profits – and it appears to me to be a Kodak type business dilemma… but none of this really matters to the opponents of the CPP – it’s become part of a highly charged partisan issue about Executive Orders and the powers and limits of power of the POTUS – relative to Congress.

        There’s RICH, RICH irony is the claim that such orders are “abusive” because the GOP candidates all say that when they get elected – THEY TOO will use Executive Orders to UNDO what they disagree with.

        In the meantime – their GOP brethren in Congress are challenging the core concept of the POTUS having these powers to begin with – as they call it “illegal” and “unConstitutional” as Mr. Domenech and all the States that are a party to the legal challenge.

        it will be an interesting issue as it plays out and I have no doubt that coal plants are going to close in the end – no matter what happens to CPP – … and DVP will survive quite nicely also.

        1. Yes could be a “silver lining” for Hillary I think. My feeling is, although I was trying to make it work, CPP is probably flawed and an over-reach that could have impacted the elections. I was a little upset that VA Att. Gen. Mark Herring took a supportive position…we should have been neutral.

          I am proud of my first Bacon Rebellion blog where I pointed out the Virginia state summary sheet for CPP was misleading and probably erroneous. Other major groups (World Resources Inst, E&E News) later showed the Virginia data the same way I did here back in August.

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