As Congress tries to knock out the economy in one fell swoop with its economically dangerous cap and trade proposal, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a different approach: proposing smaller, regulatory jabs at the economy with the intent to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

First, the EPA worked with the Department of Transportation to propose new vehicle standards – a 5 percent annual increase in fuel economy starting with the 2012 model year, reaching 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Last week, they announced the largest emitters of greenhouse gases must report their emissions.

Now, they’re going after large facilities. Just yesterday, “The Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories and oil refineries — a warning shot to Congress that if it does not move to curb global warming, the Obama administration will act on its own.”

In her speech, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said,

By using the power and authority of the Clean Air Act, we can begin reducing emissions from the nation’s largest greenhouse gas emitting facilities without placing an undue burden on the businesses that make up the vast majority of our economy. This is a common sense rule that is carefully tailored to apply to only the largest sources — those from sectors responsible for nearly 70 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions sources. This rule allows us to do what the Clean Air Act does best – reduce emissions for better health, drive technology innovation for a better economy, and protect the environment for a better future – all without placing an undue burden on the businesses that make up the better part of our economy.”

Although the newly proposed EPA rule will not apply to schools, restaurants and small businesses, it’s the large emitters of carbon dioxide that provide America with 85 percent of its energy needs. Regulating greenhouse gases with “the use of best technologies” will mean higher costs for energy passed on to schools, restaurants, small businesses, and of course, the consumer. Further, EPA’s attempt to exempt smaller entities is on flimsy legal ground and is not likely to withstand the inevitable and endless lawsuits from environmental activists

The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of the carbon capping Waxman-Markey bill project higher energy and other costs for a household of four – nearly $3,000 per year between 2012 and 2035. Gasoline prices will rise by 58 percent ($1.38 more per gallon) and average household electric rates will increase by 90 percent by 2035. And if the EPA is running the show, the micromanaging of our economy and the compliance costs that come along with it will only increase the costs.

On April 17, the EPA issued an endangerment finding, saying that global warming poses a serious threat to public health and safety. Interestingly, Jackson spoke as if 60-comment period on the endangerment finding and the EPA’s plan to regulate carbon dioxide was met with unanimous support. She said, “We have received more than 400,000 responses in the 60-day public comment period. And we soon expect a final document that will lay the foundation for reducing greenhouse emissions and confronting climate change.”

But through The Heritage Foundation’s site, nearly 30,000 of you voiced your opinion against EPA regulations. Other organizations, such as The US Chamber of Commerce, American Solutions, FreedomWorks, and the Institute for Energy Research aggregated similar numbers, but there’s no mention of that.

Contrary to Administrator Jackson’s assertions, using the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 would likely be the most expensive environmental regulation in history and will bypass the legislative process completely. While some Members of Congress undoubtedly support the EPA’s attempt to curb global warming, the fact that unelected and unaccountable EPA bureaucrats are trying to use backdoor rulemaking to reduce carbon dioxide makes it all the more objectionable.