Two competing solar power companies, Ausra and BrightSource Energy, recently filed plans to build plants in the California desert. Both firms’ plans affected wildlife habitat. But only Ausra’s plans were hit with complaints demanding expensive and cumbersome environmental studies. The reason? Ausra had rejected demands that it use only union workers to build its solar farm, while BrightSource pledged to hire labor-friendly contractors.

As the New York Times reports today, big labor is using California’s environmental regulations to shake down power companies trying to build new plants in the state: “If they refuse, they say, they can count on the union group to demand costly environmental studies and deliver hostile testimony at public hearings. If they commit at the outset to use union labor, they say, the environmental objections never materialize.” As harmful as this racket is to California’s economy, new regulations proposed by the Obama administration will empower other special interest groups to shake down businesses nationwide.

In April of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency began the process of regulating greenhouse gasses by classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant pursuant to the Clean Air Act. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, regulating carbon through the Clean Air Act would expose at least one million mid-sized commercial buildings to draconian environmental regulations. One-fifth of all food service businesses, one-third of all health care businesses, one-half of the entire lodging industry, and even 10% of all buildings used for worship would be under the EPA’s hammer. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis has estimated that if the EPA regulated carbon objectively under the law, the economy would suffer annual job losses exceeding 800,000 for several years and a cumulative GDP loss of $7 trillion by 2029.

But don’t worry, says Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. She told the New York Times earlier this year, “We are poised to be specific on what we regulate and on what schedule.” In other words, just as the Obama Treasury Department played political favorites when bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, rewarding big labor allies while punishing average investors and secured creditors, the Obama EPA is poised to play the exact same games while enforcing the Clean Air Act.

There is something you can do to help stop this regulatory enviro-crony capitalism nightmare. Any regulatory framework created by the Obama EPA can be fought in court. And one factor that courts must consider when a regulation is challenged is how the government addressed citizen comments on the proposed regulation.

Last year, over 14,000 of you submitted a comment through this website to the Environmental Protection Agency asking it not to move forward with carbon dioxide regulations. We need your help again. Submit a comment letting the EPA know what you think of the agency’s new regulatory scheme to regulate our economy and lives. Then, tell your friends. Visit to make your voice heard. The deadline is June 23.

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