This summer the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set in motion the process for regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Their Advanced Notice for Proposed Rulemaking is only a fist step, but the breadth of their desired reach is truly frightening. This month the U.S. Chamber of Commerce produced a study detailing how many Americans would be afflicted with costly new regulations under the EPA’s plan.

Currently many large entities (such as poer plants and chemical manufacturers) comply profitably under the CAA. These enterprises are large and sophisticated enough to handle the costs and risks of federal regulatory compliance. But CO2 is not like sulfur-dioxide or other harmful chemicals. CO2 is perfectly natural, is exhaled by humans every second, and provides 85% of all U.S. energy. Unlike all other substances regulated by the CAA it is ubiquitous throughout the economy. Under the EPA’s plan any business that emitted over 250 tons of CO2 a year would be subject to costly new EPA regulations.

How many, and what kinds of businesses, would be affected? According to the Chamber of Commerce at least one million mid-sized commercial buildings would be affected, including: 1/5 of all food service businesses, 1/3 of all health care businesses, 1/2 of the entire lodging industry, and even 10% of all buildings used for worship.