Does anyone else notice how the President, one man alone, is dictating policies and imposing mandates on private citizens? This is not even democratic, were we even supposed to be governed by a Democracy.
We are supposed to be a nation, in which the individual citizen reigns, supreme, over even a majority. How did we come to where one man, with the flourish of a pen can shut down an entire industry? Dictate what can be done on private property to a degree it is equivalent to the confiscation of that property? Where, one man has the power to bring an entire economy to its knees?
Shouldn't an edict that has the consequences of eliminating access to a primary source of energy be something upon which Congress, at least, weighs in? Oh, wait a minute! I think they did. Way back when they accepted and encouraged, as desirable, government by bureaucratic regulation. At that point, Congress relinquished their authority to the administrative branch of government, treacherously undermining the balance of powers that had been so carefully crafted into our constitution.
It has been this decades-long process, in which all bureaucracies have been incrementally, persistently, and aggressively ratcheting up the degree to which they can control our lives, which has most undermined our freedom and liberty. That is exactly what President Obama put into play, when he imposed a new set of regulations upon the oil and gas industry.
Having successfully closed down most other production of oil and gas that was directly dependent upon permitting from the government, the Administration was being shown-up by American investors, producers and workers on private lands.
Underscoring the fallacy of the belief of conceited centralized- planners that they can know and anticipate all things, here was an aspect of the private sector that was about to undo all the efforts of centralized planning.
Being on private land (I hope everyone takes close note of this dynamic fact), the government had no ability to shut down the production of gas and oil – not without abusing regulatory laws which were ostensibly put into place to protect "health and safety" – not to regulate markets. What President Obama put into effect, was nothing less than a coupe of the regulatory process, to impose a presidential edict.
Not to let a crisis go to waste, President Obama first claimed credit for the increase in energy production on private lands, which all the government experts had previously declared impossible. But, then he went about finding a way to slam shut the door on private sector production. He seized upon extreme regulation of fracing, as a means to reach onto private lands, and do what he otherwise is not supposed to have any power to do – control markets and the commerce of free, law-abiding citizens.
The government of a free country should have very little to do with directing markets, and when they do it is supposed to be through the policy-setting process of Congress AND the President, giving considerable berth to state governments.
The fact that we have no energy policy, and the President is loath to pursue one, says all that needs to be said about his respect for due process. The administration knows that what they want is not supported by the American public, so the President goes about imposing it in the only other means available – the abuse of regulatory agencies and laws.
If regulatory laws are supposed to be about protecting "health and safety" (something that only the most gullible ever believed), why is it that no one even pays lip-service to that ruse, anymore? Legally, to avoid charges of unconstitutionality, they have to find a "safety" or more often an "environmental" pretext upon which to base their punitive regulations, but when talking about their goals they pull no punches as to what it is really all about.
Early on, even President Obama was audacious enough to lay forth this strategy, when he said, "If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that's being emitted." (2008)
The Keystone XL pipeline is another example. The environmental groups are very forthright in their desire to curb the production of Canadian crude oil. They know, as well as the engineers that designed it, that the pipeline poses little risk to aquifers or anything else, for that matter, but such is the legal mechanism which is necessary, to hijack the permitting process which circumvents Congress and the American people.
It's a process pursued at all levels, any more. Locally, the Northern Plains Resource Council readily admitted that the issue of coal trains causing traffic congestion in the city, was just leverage to get to their ultimate goal of crippling the production of coal in the state of Montana. The state has no official policy to that end. In fact, the state government accepted a huge sum of cash from Arch Company, as down payment to pursue quite the opposite policy.
The statist environmentalists know that there is no majority in the state to stand behind their position. In fact, to tell private developers what they can and cannot do on their own property might even be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. But, no need to worry about such pesky safeguards to our liberty, regulatory agencies were created to trump such checks and balances.
There seems to be little hope of saving our nation from this downslide into a far greater totalitarian state, because even those fighting the actions of the regulators, do so only by addressing the specifics of the regulations. They do not call into question the underlying basic premise of government by bureaucratic edict.
For example, a spokesperson for the Western Energy Alliance in challenging Obama's regulations criticized only the federal agency's math in doing a cost vs. benefit analysis.
"Only a federal agency far removed from real-world economics and on-the-ground conditions could say with a straight face that a regulation is cost effective when it has $745 million in costs and only $11-19 million in benefits. Even with that disparity, we believe EPA seriously overestimated the benefits and underestimated the costs of compliance," she said.
Her statement seems to concede the EPA's right to impose the regulations, and in so doing she concedes everything worthy of concern. After that, one is only debating the hangman's noose or the firing squad.
There is a statement in a piece at townhallfinance.com, that does recognize the truth of what is happening: "In a nutshell, this allows the administration to yet again do an end-run around congress and allow unelected appointees....manage the country to prevent global warming."
Bear in mind, their attempt to set such a policy through Congress (cap and trade) failed.
While it's true that President Obama is unique in the degree to which he is willing to use all the reins of power that have been relinquished to the Administrative branch of government, he is not the only president to have used them, nor will future presidents likely eschew them, now that this president has demonstrated their potential. The point is, this is not a partisan concern, it should be a concern for all citizens desiring freedom – unless one believes that only one political party is susceptible to political opportunism.
This is not a dilemma to have materialized overnight, nor is it likely to be easily undone. In fact it cannot be undone unless citizens understand what HAS been done.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103