Alex Mills, Special to the Times Record NewsPublished 1:45 p.m. CT May 5, 2017
Efforts to reverse the environmental overreach implemented by the Obama administration continues at the White House, in the halls of Congress, within the courts, and among academia.
Overreach exploded in 2009 when the Environmental Protection Agency declared that carbon dioxide, also known as CO2, is a pollutant and poses a "danger" to human health and welfare, and, therefore, it must be regulated.
This has become known as EPA's "endangerment finding," which was used as a basis for many of its regulations on fossil fuels during the past eight years.
A new study published recently by three veteran researchers reveals that "EPA's basic claim that CO2 is a pollutant is totally false."
The authors - Drs. Jim Wallace, John Christy and Joe D'Aleo - stated there is "very, very little doubt but that EPA's claim of a Tropical Hot Spot, caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels, simply does not exist in the real world."
The study stated after naturally occurring events - solar, volcanic, and oceanic - have been accounted for, there is no "record setting" warming to be concerned about.
"At this point, there is no statistically valid proof that past increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations have caused the officially reported rising, even claimed record setting temperatures."
The study was completed on behalf of the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council. It has been filed with the EPA. The council has asked EPA to reconsider its endangerment finding.
Many critics of EPA's endangerment findings point out that the findings are lacking in scientific basis and consist primarily of models showing how EPA thinks the atmospheric heat transfer system works.
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio), chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, has asked EPA for the scientific studies used to justify its endangerment finding, but EPA has not been forthcoming.
President Donald Trump has issued several executive orders delaying implementation of some of the regulations issued by the previous administration, and new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued directives to re-examine policies and directives.
Many states and industry groups filed multiple lawsuits against the strict air emission regulations, which are still working their way through the legal system.
Just last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to postpone a ruling on a lawsuit against the Clean Power Plan.
In the U.S. Senate, a group of senators seek to pass a bill repealing an Obama-era climate change rule.
The House passed a resolution months ago to repeal an Interior Department methane emission rule for the oil and natural gas industry, but the bill has languished in the Senate.
"The rule is entirely unnecessary," a letter to fellow senators stated. "The EPA found that methane emissions fell by 13 percent from 2011-2014. The EPA also found that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing fell 81 percent between 2012 and 2014. This drop in methane emissions occurred even as U.S. oil and gas production has significantly increased due to the shale revolution."
The debate over the criteria EPA used to justify the implementation of regulations that will have far-reaching impact on the lives of Americans for years to come continues through the legal and legislative process. It is certain, however, that the new scientific study proclaiming that CO2 is not a pollutant will be a major player in that debate.
Alex Mills is president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The opinions expressed are solely of the author.