Senate Aspirations, the EPA and our Constitution…

When the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, or as I like to refer to it – Tax & Kill – was up for vote in the House, one of the eight Republicans to vote FOR it was a Rep from the 10th District of Illinois, Mark Kirk. Now being the civic minded, conservative activist that I am, I fired off an email to all eight of the RINO’s (Republicans In Name Only) that voted in favor of H.R. 2454 letting them know that I intended to donate to the coffers of their opponents in the next election they ran in. This bill needed 216 votes to pass, it got 219. Had just four of the eight RINO’s voted No; we would not have this horrible bill to contend with. This is a job killer and only serves to weaken our economy and weaken our stance in the world.

Of the eight Congressmen that I wrote to, only Mark Kirk wrote me back. I was surprised to say the least and I read with fascination what he had to say. Here is the text of the letter and a link to the letter itself.
October 20, 2009

Dear Mr. King:
When the Congress first considered H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, I conducted a careful analysis of its economic impact on the 10th Congressional District of Illinois. Given the economic data available at the time, the relatively low economic impact of the legislation on our district and my passion for finding ways to end our dependence on foreign oil, I voted for the bill.

The 10th District has one major energy supplier. Surprisingly, this coal-burning supplier, Midwest Generation, strongly supported the House bill and the direct impact of the bill on the 10th district was low – just $14 per year, per household.

In recent months, however, I learned that the economic impact of this bill on the wider State of Illinois – where millions of family incomes depend on manufacturing and agriculture – is far greater than in the 10th District. In addition, a recent report issued by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office revealed that the cost of this legislation is considerably higher than first anticipated, reducing America’s gross domestic product by up to 0.75 percent by 2020 and 3.5 percent by 2050, and likely costing our Illinois economy thousands of jobs.

This economic burden on our community is unacceptably high – particularly during the deep recession we are currently enduring.
As you know, I support policies that end our dependence on foreign oil and improve our environment – a key U.S. national security priority. I am pro-nuclear power, pro-offshore energy and pro-Trans Canada pipeline to lower heating and manufacturing costs in the Midwest.

But due to the rising economic cost of H.R. 2454, I can no longer support this legislation as written. If we want to advance legislation that lowers our dependence on foreign oil and improves the environment, we need to do it in a way that does not adversely affect jobs and economic growth in our community.

I believe we can do just that. We should permanently extend tax credits for wind, solar, geothermal, fuel cell, ethanol, biodiesel and other alternative energy research to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil and protect the environment. We should build 50 new nuclear power plants in America and complete the trans-Canada natural gas pipeline. We should back innovators like FutureGen, Argonne and Fermilab. These are ideas that would 1) lower our dependence on foreign oil, 2) create jobs, not kill them, and 3) receive bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me on this issue. Please feel free to visit my website, kirk.house.gov, or contact me again should other issues of concern to you come before the Congress. To stay better connected to current legislation please sign up for my e-newsletter at kirk.house.gov/newsletter.
Sincerely,

Mark Steven Kirk
Member of Congress

I will admit that at first glance, I almost believed his reasons for explaining his vote. But I did a little digging and found out that Mr.Kirk has aspirations for Obama’s vacated Senate seat. So his vote in favor of Tax & Kill was merely pandering to the liberals in his district so that when he runs for the Senate, he will have his base behind him.

Senate Seat in his future?

This didn’t really surprise me, I mean it wouldn’t be the first time a politician put his political career ahead of what is best for the country, now would it? However, something in that letter made me wonder… “The 10th District has one major energy supplier. Surprisingly, this coal-burning supplier, Midwest Generation, strongly supported the House bill…”

Now why would a coal-burning energy supplier show public support for a piece of legislation that would cut straight to the heart and profits of the way they do business? I went back to the internet and did a little more digging. I found out that Midwest Generation is one of many power companies facing intense scrutiny from the EPA. In fact, Midwest Gen is being sued over their emissions.

Midwest Generation Lawsuit

The last sentence in that article caught my eye. “Midwest Generation is the third power company to face tougher inspection by the EPA under Obama’s administration, according to the Chicago Tribune.”
Before I jumped to any conclusions, I wanted to check further. It would seem that under Obama, the EPA is getting very aggressive in its scrutiny and inspection of coal burning power plants. Now that, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Some of these plants are using decades old equipment that does nothing to prevent harmful pollutants from being released into the atmosphere. What I found interesting is that Midwest Generation’s endorsement of H.R. 2454 was suspicious in its nature. Once again, we have Chicago style politics on a national scale, or in other words the quintessential quid pro quo.
But in my investigations, I came across an article written by a law firm with offices in Texas, New York, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Dubai, Kazakhstan and London. One of the authors of the article used to be with the EPA and now assists companies in navigating the treacherous waters of EPA regulations enforcement. Two sentences stood out in that article.
1. “The EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OCEA) is likely to expand its well established position by both participating in EPA’s ongoing debates over expanded environmental policy, and by playing a significant role in driving that policy through its enforcement actions.”
2. “…the Obama administration’s OECA will not be expected to impede the development of new policy, though it will likely continue to be used as a tool to advance OECA’s vision of environmental policy, especially in areas where rulemaking procedures may delay the implementation of the administration’s preferred policies.”

A quick explanation: OECA influences policy in the EPA in many ways. One such way is in the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) New Source Review (NSR) program. During the Clinton admin, the EPA brought many cases under the NSR program. These cases were inherited by the Bush admin and they restricted the ability of the EPA to change the NSR program. Due to the cases filed under Clinton, and the United States taking formal litigation positions at that time on the way the NSR worked, the Bush admin had to start rule making proceedings all over to change the NSR. Had the litigation not started under Clinton, the Bush EPA could simply have reformed the rules on a case-by-case basis.
The Obama admin will be making no such mistakes. They will allow the NSR to institute policy changes and essentially make the rule of law, avoiding that pesky House-Senate-Executive Branch law making process.
So allow me to sum up the journey that this letter from a Congressman took me and I, in turn took you all.
1. We have a US Congressman who puts his career in front of his country.
2. We have an administration that is possibly using the EPA in strong-arm tactics to get public support for it’s socialist legislation.
3. We have an administration that is taking that same EPA and utilizing it to make an end run around the Constitution in order to change the laws of the land in regards to the environment.

What all this proves is that there is nothing simple in Washington and that we have a dangerously unscrupulous person occupying the Oval Office.

Link to letter from Cong. Mark Kirk R-IL

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