Liz Cheney: Say ‘Yes’ to Energy

Liz Cheney at the U.S. Capitol December 3, 2015 in Washington.
Keith Lane/Getty Images

Many important issues are getting short shrift this tabloid election year. A vital economic one is energy.

So I was pleased to hear that energy, particularly with respect to Barack Obama’s war on coal, is a priority for at least one of the GOP candidates for Wyoming’s only seat in the House of Representatives.

Though Liz Cheney wouldn’t exactly be a new face in Washington, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, alumna of the Bush administration State Department and former Fox News contributor may bring a much-needed spark to Republican efforts to unleash our domestic energy industry.

While every Republican candidate for Wyoming’s House seat – and there are eight of them this year – likely opposes the Obama administration’s war on coal, Cheney has put together a bold and specific agenda that few Republicans in Congress would dare talk about during an election season.

When President Obama failed to get a Democrat-controlled Congress to pass the anti-coal cap-and-trade bill in 2009-2010, he turned to his Environmental Protection Agency, which relied on junk science, bogus economics and arrogance to issue devastating rule after devastating rule. None of these rules will have the slightest impact on global temperature or the weather, but all have helped crush the U.S. coal industry, as we know it.

So it was great to hear that one of Cheney’s priorities is, “severely reducing the size, scope and authority of the EPA, with the ultimate goal of abolishing the agency.” While that may sound extreme to some, it’s really not. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy has testified in Congress that about 85 percent of environmental protection is now done by the states – a completely different situation than when President Nixon formed the EPA in 1970. After 45 years, environmental protection is an issue ripe for rethinking. Cheney gets this.

Cheney would also unwind the various components of the Obama war on coal including the EPA global warming rules known as the Clean Power Plan, the EPA’s Supreme Court-rejected Mercury Air Transport Standard, which EPA is trying to restore, the moratorium on new coal mining leases for public lands and other pointless and burdensome regulation.

Climate skeptics will be pleased to hear that Cheney also supports reversing the EPA’s arbitrary determination that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant that may be regulated under the Clean Air Act. As even former Congressman Democrat John Dingell (D-MI), who helped write the Clean Air Act has admitted, Congress never intended for EPA to regulate CO2.

It took a divided Supreme Court caught up in the mania caused by Al Gore’s 2006 movie an “Inconvenient Truth” to determine that EPA could regulate life-giving CO2 as a pollutant. If it were too difficult for a GOP-run EPA to reverse the so-called “Endangerment Finding,” then Cheney would push for Congress to do it.

Another major issue that Cheney supports is something that Republicans in Congress gave up on 20 years ago – much-needed reform of the regulatory process. When the GOP took control of Congress in 1995, reining in the overregulation of businesses was at the top of their agenda. But the effort fell apart because Democrats succeeded in falsely positioning the effort as a rollback of public health protections.

Cheney wants to pick up that torch as follows: “Congress must enact legislation to sunset existing regulations and ensure that new regulations are based strictly upon the statutory provisions they are intended to carry out. Congress should also require that new regulations impose the least possible economic and property rights impact.”

Congress has wrongly delegated much of its authority to regulatory agencies. It’s time Congress recaptured the powers and responsibilities the Constitution gave it.

While all this sounds like a lot of undoing, the purpose of Cheney’s efforts, she told me, is to enable the U.S. to exploit all its energy resources. She would say “yes” to all sources of energy and “no” to the abuse of government power and taxpayer dollars for the misguided and politicized purpose of destroying the fossil fuel industry.

I encourage all GOP congressional candidates to adopt that agenda.

Steve Milloy publishes and is a former coal company executive.


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