Obama administration delayed major environmental regulations until AFTER the 2012 elections

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The media is now reporting that the White House delayed major environmental regulations until after the 2012 elections. This is all well and good, except that Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe made the very same findings more than one year ago.

Last year, Inhofe issued a report saying that the Obama administration was “punting” a slew of Environmental Protection Agency regulations into 2013, well after voters had hit the polls in November.

“President Obama has spent the past year punting on a slew of job-killing EPA regulations that will destroy millions of American jobs and cause energy prices to skyrocket even more,” Senator Inhofe said in a statement. “From greenhouse gas regulations to water guidance to the tightening of the ozone standard, the Obama-EPA has delayed the implementation of rule after rule because they don’t want all those pink slips and price spikes to hit until after the election.

Now the media has mainstream media has caught on. The Washington Post reported this weekend that the White House had delayed key environmental and Obamacare regulations until after the all the votes had been counted in the 2012 election. The Post was told by anonymous current and former officials that “the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his re-election.”

The Post referenced a report by the Administrative Conference of the United States — an agency that advises the government on regulatory issues — found that internal White House reviews of proposed regulatory changes “took longer in 2011 and 2012 because of concerns about the agencies issuing costly or controversial rules prior to the November 2012 election.”

“But President Obama’s former climate czar Carol Browner was very clear about what’s in store for next year: she told several green groups not to worry because President Obama has a big green ‘to-do’ list for 2013 so they’ll get what they want,” Inhofe added.

The Inhofe report from October 2012, detailed several costly EPA regulations, including controversial greenhouse gas regulations, new expansive water protection rules and stricter tailpipe standards.

All three of these major regulations are now being openly pursued by the EPA. In fact, Obama made a renewed commitment over the summer of 2013 to address global warming and address the country’s environment concerns.

In March 2013, the EPA issued new tailpipe standards, called Tier 3 standards, for gasoline to reduce the sulfur levels by more than 60 percent and nitrogen oxides in gasoline by 80 percent. The rule is predicted to raise gas prices by as much as 9 cents, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

“That regulation.. was ready in December 2011, said three officials familiar with the proposal,” the Washington Post reported. “But agency officials were told to wait a year to submit it for review because critics could use it to suggest that the administration was raising gas prices, they said.”

In September 2013, the EPA re-proposed the first ever carbon dioxide emissions limits on new power plants. This has been one of the most contentious rules ever proposed by the agency —  it effectively bans the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they use carbon capture technology.

The carbon emissions limits have been hotly opposed by the coal industry and Republican lawmakers who see it as part of the Obama administration’s so-called “war on coal.”

“The figure that really matters is the number of innocent people caught up in the Obama administration’s war on coal,” Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr said at an October rally against Obama’s coal policies.

The EPA is currently working on an expansion of the language of the Clean Water Act that could extend agency authority over all the country’s bodies of water — even those on private property.

The EPA would expand the definition of “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act to allegedly clear up some uncertainty that was created by two earlier court rulings. However, Republicans say that this could be one of the largest EPA power grabs in history.

“The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S. This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever,” Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith. “If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams.”

The Post reports that the “EPA recently withdrew a proposal to outline what kind of water bodies deserve federal protection that had been pending since February 2012 and announced it would issue a legally binding rule instead.”

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