Two articles from Congressional Quarterly last week show why liberals are so desperate to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate carbon under the authority of the Clean Air Act (CAA). First from “Democrats reject Bush’ Cost-Benefit Approach to Pollution Standards” we learn:

Under the Clean Air Act, last overhauled in 1990, the EPA must set pollution standards based solely on public health and welfare.

The law prohibits the EPA from taking cost into account when setting air quality standards, which must be at a level that science determines is necessary to protect the public. The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed this reading in its 2001 decision, Whitman v. American Trucking Associations.

S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Agencies, argued that health-based standards set without regard to cost are a fundamental part of the statute. “This is something that is untouchable. It is the foundation of the Clean Air Act,” Becker said.

Now from “EPA Cost Analysis Fuels Debate Over Global Warming Bill” we learn that :

The analysis found that if the bill were enacted, average annual household consumption would be $1,375 lower in 2030 and $4,377 lower in 2050. Electricity prices would go up 44 percent by 2030 and 26 percent by 2050.
Under the bill, U.S. gross domestic product would be between 0.9 percent and 3.8 percent lower – or $238 billion to $983 billion less – in 2030 than if there is no legislation, the analysis found.

Now let’s leave aside for a second that the EPA study grossly underestimates the costs of the Warner/Lieberman bill by, among other things, assuming liberals in Congress will sign off on a 150% increase in nuclear power by 2050. And let’s also set aside the fact that even if the United States meets the Warner/Lieberman carbon reduction there is no scientific consensus it will bring any environmental benefits to anyone. No the real story here is that by regulating carbon through the CAA, liberals never have to tell the American people what it is costing them economically. The EPA is forbidden, by law, from even considering what the costs to the economy might be. Working through Congress, on the other hand, means conservatives can demand studies on how carbon schemes will cost jobs and economic growth.