Commenting on the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to classify carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses as a danger to the public’s health and welfare, Frank O’Donnell, president of the eco-leftist Clean Air Watch, told the Los Angeles Times, “The Obama administration now has the legal equivalent of a .44 magnum … The bullets aren’t loaded yet, but they could be.” If our economy ever hopes to recover, it is imperative that the American people reject the Obama administration’s audacious blackmail threat.

The EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions on Friday will not be finalized until a mandated 60-day comment period is completed. But once it becomes final, the ruling will trigger massive economy-wide EPA regulations. New York Law School professor David Schoenbrod tells the Washington Post: “This would be a regulatory maze far exceeding anything we’ve seen before.” According to the US Chamber of Commerce, regulating carbon through the Clean Air Act would affect at least one million mid-sized commercial buildings, 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. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis has estimated that EPA carbon regulations will cause annual job losses exceeding 800,000 for several years and a cumulative GDP loss of $7 trillion by 2029.

The alternative favored by the Obama administration and their leftist allies in Congress is no better. Legislation is still being formed in the House and Senate, but all proposals so far are stricter than the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade bill the Senate rejected last year. Even the more lenient Lieberman-Warner bill was an economy killer. Center for Data Analysis shows Lieberman-Warner cap and trade plan would have cost the U.S. economy $4.8 trillion by 2030.

Throughout this debate, the left is going to try and portray the EPA as an objective arbiter of scientific fact. Nothing could be further from the truth. In her statement accompanying the finding, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said, “This pollution problem has a solution — one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.” This is wishful thinking. Just ask the Chinese who have made it clear they will never sacrifice their economic growth to reduce carbon emissions or the Indians who have called the trade off between economic growth and carbon caps “morally wrong.”

American consumers are already beginning to feel the economic pain from existing alternative fuel mandates. Both Obama’s carbon regulations and Obama’s cap and trade plan would harm consumers far worse. Instead of strangling our economic recovery with high energy prices, Congress should be moving to unleash free enterprise, protect America’s energy interests, and advance free global energy markets. But first they must say no to blackmail from Obama’s EPA.

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