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EDITORIAL: EPA’s latest regulation hammers airlines, travel and tourism

President Barack Obama says climate change is a national security threat. As a result, virtually every industry is threatened by his administration’s regulatory wrath.

Under the president’s watch, the Environmental Protection Agency is pushing for increased regulation of wetlands and waterways, tightening fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks and is getting ready to launch unprecedented greenhouse gas rules for power plants. And just last week, the Obama administration announced it would be taking new steps toward regulating airplanes’ greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA proposes a declaration stating that carbon emissions from commercial planes contribute to climate change and hurt human health. The EPA is also working with the International Civil Aviation Organization to develop carbon dioxide standards for planes that would impact airlines not only in the United States, but across the globe. According to the EPA, the move “supports the goals of the President’s Climate Action Plan” to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by up to 28 percent over the next decade.

The environmental impact of the EPA’s proposal would be minimal — the airline industry already is moving toward ever-more-efficient aircraft and U.S.-related airplane emissions, and it produces a mere 0.5 percent of the world’s human-caused greenhouse gas emissions — but the economic harm to businesses and travelers would be severe.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was one of many Republicans who denounced the EPA’s announcement and called any new regulations unnecessary.

“The sky is the limit when it comes to how much of the U.S. economy the EPA wants to control,” said Rep. Smith, who also serves as Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman. “Such regulations would increase the price of airfare for Americans and harm our domestic carriers. Over the last 50 years, the fuel efficiency of jetliners has increased by 70 percent. Incentives are already in place to make air travel more energy efficient. This proposal is the next leg of a nonstop journey by the EPA to control how Americans live, work and travel.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who pointed out that the president’s travels on Air Force One would “conveniently” not be subject to the new rules, said the proposal is “further proof of extreme environmental groups charting this country’s regulatory course.”

Sen. Inhofe is right. Jet-setting liberals are the pushiest parishioners in the Church of Climate Change. They have no problem piling up miles on their private planes to tell everyone else to make enormous sacrifices in their lives. All the radical greens who want current jetliners grounded and air travel restricted should check with their deep-pocketed donors before championing the EPA’s plan.

This is lunacy, plain and simple. The EPA under President Obama is a power-grabbing bunch of authoritarians. As with everything the EPA gets its hands on, strict new airplane standards would raise costs. It would make travel more expensive and hurt airlines, business and tourism —the dominant industry in Nevada.

Nevada’s congressional delegation needs to do everything in its power to block yet more costly EPA regulations — and Americans need to elect a new president who’ll finally put a leash on the EPA.

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