Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency initiated what could indeed become a very dangerous regulatory process for this country.  EPA proposed an “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare.  This move by EPA will unleash a torrent of regulations that will destroy jobs, harm consumers, and extend the agency’s reach into every corner of American life.  While such regulations will create another massive burden on the economy, there will be no positive effect on global climate change as a result.

A year ago, Representative John Dingell correctly stated that an endangerment finding will produce a “glorious mess.”  EPA now has the power within its reach to regulate emissions from schools, farms, hospitals, assisted living facilities and other sources that meet minimum thresholds in the Clean Air Act.  Need confirmation? Just by looking through the comments filed in the docket to EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for greenhouse gas emissions, one is struck by how broadly the Clean Air Act would apply.  Any major economic development could be open to review by the EPA.  The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis found that potential EPA greenhouse gas regulations would destroy over 800,000 jobs and result in a cumulative GDP loss of $7 trillion by 2029.

Some now claim this is why it is time to pass cap-and-trade legislation.  Unfortunately that would replace one very bad approach with another.  In last year’s debate on the Lieberman-Warner-Boxer climate bill, the enormous costs of cap-and-trade legislation were exposed.  What Congress should pass is a simple, narrowly-targeted bill that stops EPA from implementing regulations that will have a significant negative impact on the American economy and do nothing to affect climate change.