The federal Eliminating Prosperity Agency

House Republicans, anxious to make good on last fall’s campaign promises, are determined to promote early passage of a law ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to refrain from enacting costly and job-destroying regulations aimed at limited carbon dioxide emissions, supposedly to halt “man-made global warming.”

Since the EPA claims to act under a “Clean Air Act” enacted by Congress in the first place, there’s no doubt lawmakers have the power to do that.

Republicans Fred Upton, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator James Inhofe readied draft legislation Wednesday that would stop the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide — which is not only harmless but necessary to life on earth — and other so-called “greenhouse gases.”

(The “greenhouse effect” describes a behavior of our atmosphere that keeps us from freezing solid shortly after sunset. This is a bad thing?)

The bill “is a narrowly drawn, targeted solution” that would prevent the main federal air pollution law, the Clean Air Act, from being used as a vehicle to regulate emissions, a congressional aide said.

A fellow Republican, Senator John Barrasso, introduced a more wide-ranging bill Monday that would also stop the EPA from regulating the gases.

Supporters of the massive new regulatory scheme complain the move is premature — the EPA has not yet issued the regulations, though they’re in the works — and also argue the move amounts to pointless symbolism, since Senate passage is uncertain and the White House threatens to veto the measure even if it arrives on the president’s desk.

In the first place, so onerous are these proposed rules that a defeat in the Senate is by no means certain.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia, reintroduced legislation Monday that would delay the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases for two years. Several other Senate Democrats — from states whose economies depend heavily on fossil fuels, such as Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin and Ben Nelson — are also backing Sen. Rockefeller’s bill.

Those senators are up for reelection in 2012; do they want to go before voters having embraced a regulatory scheme that will drive up electric bills and make America more dependent on foreign oil, while also costing local jobs?

But more importantly, a new and more conservative House majority — inheriting a far from impressive GOP reputation for “going along” with the costly and economically crippling regulatory state — is wise to move quickly to define for voters what they stand for, and how different that stance is from that of Mr. Obama and his supporters on the “green” fringe.

If the president vetoes a bill passed by majorities in both houses, blocking this expensive and pointless scheme, what message will that send?

First, it would send a message that — faced with the will of the people as expressed by majority votes in both houses, including the Democrat-controlled Senate — this administration prefers to take the attitude, “We’re going to do as we please, even if it drives us into another depression, and you can’t stop us.”

Quite a campaign slogan.

But beyond that, it would show an insistence on proceeding with a vastly expensive, economically crippling, job-destroying agenda … which can accomplish nothing.

Yes, nothing.

Concede for the moment that the earth is still slightly warming — though in fact the “global warming” alarmists have been caught fudging data wholesale, and there was considerable reason to believe the recent mild warming trend stalled several years ago, even before people started getting critically injured by ice falling off the stadium where they’re holding this year’s Super Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

Concede for the sake of argument, as well, that mankind contributes to global warming by burning fossil fuels — though in fact carbon dioxide is a far weaker “greenhouse gas” than water vapor, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are infinitessimal (and far lower than in the past), and far more carbon dioxide comes form the oceans than from any activity of homo sapiens.

But grant those two necessary premises, for the sake of argument, anyway. Now, even should the EPA effectively cripple the American economy, putting power plants out of business, driving up business costs, doubling heating and cooling bills, making us far more energy dependent on a recently radicalized Middle East, destroying jobs outright … could that even THEORETICALLY reduce global temperatures, given that India and Red China are continuing to build coal-fired power plants with minimal if any emissions controls as fast as they please — 100 new plants per year, in the case of the Chinese?

If the current White House team wishes to bet its re-election chances on the theory that Americans will buy that one, perhaps they’ll at least facilitate an orderly transition by inviting Governor Palin over to measure the place for new drapes, sometime soon.

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