How would you like to have a career EPA bureaucrat help you reduce your carbon footprint in every single, simple thing you do? How would you like EPA, on its own initiative, to assume control of most of the U.S. economy?

To preview this oh-so-tedious, grim new world, take a walk through EPA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) Regulating Green House Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act. Roughly 1,000 pages long, the document will be read by few Americans. The document’s turgid, technical, acronym-laden bureaucrat-speak prevents even the most educated from grasping the length and strength of EPA’s regulatory tentacles.

Not a result of any new law, the ANPR details how EPA could extend its authority under the existing Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. The White House opposed this regulatory initiative and issued a 14-page statement signed by five cabinet secretaries calling attention to the “consequences of allowing unelected officials to make such fundamental decisions affecting our economy.” Who’s on first here?

The appointed head of EPA, Administrator Stephen Johnson, stated that the ANPR represents “an unprecedented expansion of EPA’s authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land.” Yes, EPA would regulate your lawnmower and measure its CO2 emissions based on weight of grass cuttings. EPA inspectors would “help” you keep the records straight.

Almost comical in scope and mind-numbing in detail, EPA’s proposed scheme shows the impossibility of regulating CO2, the most ubiquitous compound of nature’s chemistry and of human life. EPA bureaucrats, however, could not be more serious about this enterprise. After receiving comments of this “advanced” notice of rulemaking, EPA will need to formally propose the final rule. Will a new administration have the maturity and political will to stop this colossal bureaucratic folly?

– Kathleen Hartnett White