Liberals in Congress and environmentalists are predictably apoplectic over the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to seek public comment before issuing regulations under the Clean Air Act on carbon emissions. House Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) accused the Bush administration of “running out the clock” on global warming, and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the EPA has had nearly year since the Supreme Court directed the agency to act on carbon emissions but, “now, instead of action, we get more foot-dragging.

Funny thing about Boxer and Markey berating the EPA for not acting on global warming. Both of these powerful committee chairmen have much more authority to act on global warming than the EPA does. The EPA derives all of its authority from Congress. It is Boxer and Markey who have had more than a year to act on global warming and have chosen not to do so. And why have they not acted? The answer illuminates the hypocrisy at the core of the environmentalist movement.

In order to move legislation on global warming through Congress, liberals are forced to address the high costs their chosen global warming solutions would have on the economy. A recent report on the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill showed GDP could be 3.8% lower by 2030 if the bill became law. Another study estimates that the bill would cost the U.S. 1.2 million to 1.8 million jobs by 2020. Liberals do not want to have to tell the American people how badly their schemes will hurt the economy, especially when the latest science shows the efforts will not lead to any environmental benefits.

By contrast, the Clean Air Act expressly prohibits the EPA from considering economic costs when setting air quality standards. That is why liberals are so eager to have the EPA take the lead on global warming under the authority of the Clean Air Act. It immunizes them from ever having to admit to the American people how disastrous their policies would be for the economy.

Ron Hayden, chairman of the Sierra Club Subcommittee on Energy Policy and Global Warming, yesterday asserted that science proves global warming is to blame for “forest fires in California, drought and starvation in Africa, floods in the Midwest, extreme weather events like Hurricane Katrina and Rita, Tropical Storm Allison, extension of species at a record rate … etc., etc.” If liberals in Congress truly believe the costs of global warming are this high, then nothing is stopping them from passing the most draconian carbon caps the world has ever seen. We don’t expect them to do so anytime soon.

Quick Hits:

  • To the dismay of environmental activists, the California Air Resources Board reduced the mandated number of emission-free vehicles that automobile manufacturers must sell in California by 70%.
  • The Department of Homeland Security presented a plan to the House this week that would link state and county jails to federal databases so more of the estimated 304,000 immigrant criminal could be deported.
  • General Motors supplier American Axle promises not to let striking workers bankrupt the company, suggesting they will move production to South America, Europe or Asia if unions do not lower their labor costs.
  • CNBC reports Barack Obama is promising to raise the capital gains tax, probably to about 25%.
  • Fighting piracy on the high seas is an increasingly significant part the U.S. Navy’s mission in the Persian Gulf.