Despite SCOTUS Ruling Limiting Its Authority, EPA Tries To Unilaterally Regulate Carbon Emissions Again
Plus: More details emerge on Fox News' firing of Tucker Carlson, Aubrey Plaza shills for Big Milk, Biden announces he's running for president, and more...
After a bruising defeat at the Supreme Court, the Biden administration is back to crafting regulatory limits on power plant emissions. A forthcoming rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would require that carbon-producing coal and gas power plants slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, reports The New York Times.
These emissions limits would be so strict that coal plants likely have to adopt carbon capture technology to meet them while gas plants would have to switch to burning carbon-free hydrogen gas, say administration officials to the Times.
The yet-to-be-made-public rule is currently being finalized by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
Since coming into office, President Joe Biden has been working on a rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. This has been a liberal priority going back to the Obama administration, which tried and failed to get Congress to enact an emissions cap-and-trade scheme in 2009.
Undeterred, in 2015, Obama's EPA implemented very similar regulations to those that were found in the 2009 legislation, claiming that the Clean Air Act had given it the power to regulate carbon emissions all along.
Those regulations would have required coal power plants to cut their own production of electricity or subsidize renewable energy production to offset their emissions.
That executive-ordered "Clean Power Plan" was met with immediate legal opposition. In 2016, the Supreme Court froze the implementation of these rules until those legal challenges worked themselves out. The Trump administration tried to gut the Obama-era rules but was stopped in 2021 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That ruling said the EPA not only had the power, but the duty, to regulate carbon emissions.
This was all the prelude to the Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA from last June, in which the court sided with coal companies and Republican state attorneys general, who argued against the EPA's broad authority to regulate climate emissions.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the EPA did not already have the power to cap "carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity." Any plan to do that would have to be clearly authorized by Congress.
The Biden administration has been continually pushing back its release of new emissions regulations while the West Virginia case is pending. Whether the forthcoming rule meets this standard remains to be seen. Yet more lawsuits seem inevitable.
"We are eager to review the E.P.A.'s new proposed rule on power plants, and we'll be ready once again to lead the charge in the fight against federal overreach," said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to the Times in a statement.
In addition to power plants, the Biden administration has also proposed regulations that would mandate more electric vehicle sales and end the use of gas furnaces in the home.
On Monday, the Biden administration also unveiled an executive order authorizing a "whole-of-government effort to confront longstanding environmental injustices and inequities."
"Biden's new move again goes beyond normalcy and well beyond even [former President Barack] Obama's 'pen and phone' regulating in terms of executive overreach, all in service of aggressive, far-left economic social and societal interventions," said Clyde Wayne Crews and Daren Bakst of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
More details about Tucker Carlson's ouster at Fox News keep rolling in. The reasons for the primetime populist host's departure are still murky at best. NPR reporter David Folkenflik, citing three anonymous sources, said that Carlson's effective firing was related to an ongoing sex discrimination case being brought against him by his former producer. During the discovery process in the separate, now-settled lawsuit brought against it by voting machine company Dominion, Fox is said to have uncovered communications that speak to those allegations, reports Folkenflik.
Fox agreed to pay Dominion for a reported $787.5 million last week as part of a settlement agreement.
Folkenflik's reporting seemingly contradicts a Los Angeles Times report saying that the order came from Rupert Murdoch himself, over the network owner's discomfort with Carlson's January 6 coverage.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Carlson's disparagement of his bosses at the network—also uncovered in the Dominion lawsuit—was what got him axed.
Fox News, in a brief statement released yesterday, claimed their parting with Carlson was mutual. No one seems to believe that.
While the details of his departure from Fox are still emerging, pundits are already waxing poetic about Carlson's legacy.
"He provided one of the purest forms of extremism on Fox News, bigotry and racism alleged, and conspiracy theories corrosive to the body [politick]," was Folkenflik's assessment.
"A tribune for populist opponents of endless war and Big Tech-enabled censorship and surveillance, at his best ripping into the GOP's plutocracy caucus as well as mainstream Democrats," was The American Conservative Contributing Editor Sohrab Ahmari's rosier spin.
As Reason's Robby Soave noted yesterday, Carlson was once a libertarian fellow traveler. He took a hard tack to the right leading up to and during the Trump years on issues like crime, tech regulation, and, particularly, immigration.
He remained a hardcore, bipartisan skeptic of American foreign interventionism, from Ukraine to Syria. He'd occasionally come to libertarian policy positions on more niche issues, like when he opposed menthol cigarette bans.
Even on these issues, Carlson rarely justified his libertarian policy positions on a general belief in people's freedom to do as they please without state interference. Politics was not a battle between the individual and the state, but rather between a woke elite and the real Americans they hated and exploited. The exercise of state power could therefore be good or bad, in his eyes, depending on who it was being wielded against.
That's how Carlson could end up being a harsh critic of menthol cigarette bans and marijuana legalization. "Why do they hate nicotine? Because nicotine frees your mind, and THC makes you compliant and passive," he said during one monologue.
If something liberates you from the thought control of woke elites, it's got to be legal. If it makes you a compliant minion of those elites, your choices have to be legally constrained and controlled.
This kind of unvarnished populism is admittedly a lot more interesting to watch than whatever former CNN anchor Don Lemon (who was also fired Monday) was talking about on a given night. But that hardly makes Carlson a hero.
Aubrey Plaza is the latest soldier in the ongoing labeling wars over alt milks. The actress stars in a new satirical ad campaign in which she encourages people to buy disgusting (fictional) "wood milk" instead of the standard dairy variety. At least, that is, until she tastes it.
"Is wood milk real? Absolutely not. Only real milk is real," she says.
The ad, funded by milk processors, is a clear swipe at milks made from almonds, soy, and oats. While funny, it's also part of a broader regulatory campaign by the dairy industry to prevent alternative milk makers from using the word milk on their packaging. The Food and Drug Administration issued new rules in February allowing these non-dairy milk producers to use the word milk while also encouraging them to include nutritional comparisons between their products and the dairy variety.
- President Joe Biden announced his reelection bid this morning. His Democratic primary challengers thus far are limited to self-help author Marianne Williamson and professional vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
- Ukraine's latest foe is protectionist European Union governments upset about cheap Ukrainian grain imports.
- Entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is encouraging Tucker Carlson to run for president.
- Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, demanded that Russia release two Americans it's detained: reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.
- Vox asks why cities don't have more housing that's fit for families. (Hint: Zoning regulations play a big role.)