A TRAIN Act to Stop a Train Wreck?

The Obama Administration’s environmental policy is a hot mess.

It’s like someone sent a copy of the kids version of 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save the Earth to a bunch of college professors in an English lit department and let them figure out how to best implement simple policy using all of the Communism they can muster. Why stop at legislation when you can issue dictates from on high? Why attempt to preserve jobs and allow the free market to develop and perfect alternative fuel sources when you can just allow the Environmental Protection Agency to issue ridiculous demands pursuant to additions to the Clean Air Act they just totally made up while on a two-day patchouli bender? Why pretend that there’s anyone to answer to, any jobs to protect or American industry to preserve when you can just get a bunch of hippies together in a drum circle and make decisions?

Thankfully, the House GOP is about to get something right for a change: this week they’ll be taking a look at the TRAIN Act – Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011 – which contains a few amendments designed to force the Environmental Protection Agency’s edicts to undergo the strict scrutiny of a variety of accountants and would push back the EPA’s Clean Air Act-based arbitrary rules designed to shut down greenhouse gas emitting companies permanently, until we’re sure we’re going to be saddled with the Obama Administration for another four years.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) is floating an amendment to pending legislation that would mandate longer delays in two rules than the underlying bill already requires.Whitfield’s amendment addresses standards for mercury, and interstate emissions that worsen smog and particulate pollution…It is slated for a vote late this week, and the House Rules Committee will meet Tuesday evening to set the groundrules for debate and decide which amendments will be considered. The White House is already threatening to veto the bill.

Whitfield’s amendment would delay the Cross-State rule for at least three years after the interagency group reports to Congress in August of 2012, and give states at least three years after that for implementation.

His plan would also scuttle the upcoming standards for power plant mercury and other air toxics, and require replacement rules no earlier than a year after the interagency report. Those rules would also have a compliance schedule of at least five years.

Now, this may all seem a bit pointless and political, and given that it’s Congress, its highly likely your presumption is correct. But the EPA’s bizarre power trip isn’t simply destructive to the well being of climate change rationalists and large energy producers everywhere. The new rules, which dramatically lower how much greenhouse gases a corporation can legally emit into the atmosphere, are almost entirely impossible to meet. That would mean that any industry that finds itself in a position against the EPA, struggling to meet their egregious demands, could wind up on the chopping block. Not only does this cause incredible job loss, but it has the potential to handicap entire state economies, destroy how Americans get their energy, and kneecap American innovation. Just one small piece of the EPA’s massive agenda, the MACT rule (which severely limits the trace amounts of mercury that power plants release into the air), could end up closing entire power plants, eliminating 2.5 million jobs, and depressing energy investments to the tune of $300 billion by 2014. Yep. Billion. With a “B.”

Now, you know that depressing investment and destroying industry has a negative effect on the economy. Obviously. But, also obviously, policies that stimulate economic growth completely elude the Obama Administration. Simple math and foresight are entirely lost when discussing any kind of financial matters with their team of “experts.” Which is why the TRAIN Act actually is a fantastic idea. The proposed Amendments would force – not just suggest, force – the EPA to submit their “ideas” to other agencies where trained accountants who understand calculations not proposed by Karl Marx will have to create realistic reports on the EPA’s policies’ economic effects. So, theoretically, alongside all the touchy-feely green love foisted on Americans, would be detailed explanations of exactly how much each policy will cost, not just in money (which the government thinks it has tons of anyway), but in jobs, state economic indicators and investment. Can’t say it’ll be good news, but it’ll be necessary news.

Actually, come to think of it, maybe we can use the TRAIN act to stop the rest of the Obama train wreck. Anyone want to propose an extension?

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