New York Times Sees “Big Win,” But for Whom?

Accuracy in Media


A New York Times article on the Obama administration’s latest climate change regulations opens with a salvo from the perspective of someone championing those regulations. Certainly no effort was made to consider those who do not believe in the theory of man-made global warming.

“In a big win for environmentalists, the Supreme Court on Monday effectively endorsed the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from sources like power plants, even as it criticized what it called the administration’s overreaching,” begins the article. “But the combative tone of Monday’s ruling, along with its rejection of one of the agency’s principal rationales for the regulations under review, suggests that the road ahead may be rocky for other initiatives meant to reduce carbon emissions.”

So, this is a “big win for environmentalists,” but the “road ahead may be rocky for other [global warming] initiatives.” The Times may be calling the Supreme Court combative, but they are acting as outright agitators for climate change causes themselves.

The National Journal sees it a little differently. In an article titled, “Supreme Court Slightly Weakens EPA Global-Warming Program,” they write that “The decision does not address EPA’s new proposals to set carbon-emissions standards for power plants.” They view it as a ruling that instead “addresses an existing permitting program launched several years ago.”

And the Cato Institute’s Andrew Grossman sees the Supreme Court’s decision as largely a rejection of an Obama administration overreach: “At issue was one of the Obama Administration’s earliest efforts to skirt Congress and achieve its major policy goals unilaterally through aggressive executive action,” wrote Grossman, but the Court ended up “throwing out Obama Administration actions as incompatible with the law.”

One of the sources for the Times article was the George Soros-backed Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which Adam Liptak described merely as an “advocacy group,” meaning a left-wing advocacy group, since there was no ideological label attached.

“Most media ignored the serious economic impacts this rule will likely create,” noted James Simpson in a recent AIM column.

The Times did make some attempt to acknowledge the costs of the regulations, as discussed in the context of the latest Supreme Court ruling on them:

“Applying the law as written would increase the number of covered sources under one program to more than 80,000, from just hundreds, reaching commercial and residential sources and subjecting them to expenses averaging almost $60,000, according to a decision under review from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

A second program would reach six million sources, subjecting them to expenses of more than $20,000 each. The cost of administering the programs would rise to $21 billion from $62 million, and the new covered sources, Justice Scalia wrote, would face costs of $147 billion.

The agency said Congress could not have intended such an ‘absurd result.’ Its solution was to raise the statutory emissions threshold to 75,000 to 100,000 tons per year, thus reaching far fewer facilities. This was, it said, a permissible exercise of discretion and one subject to tightening over time.

Justice Scalia, writing for five justices, rejected that approach. ‘It is hard to imagine a statutory term less ambiguous than the precise numerical thresholds at which the act requires,’ he wrote.

Endorsing the agency’s approach, he added, ‘would deal a severe blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers.’”

“The Heritage Foundation estimates a loss of over 500,000 jobs, a decline in average family income by $1,000 and a 20 percent increase in energy costs,” writes Simpson. “The EPA acknowledged that electricity rates will rise, but if we can hold out until 2030, they assure us that prices will fall after that. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claimed compliance costs for the new rule could exceed $50 billion per year.”

As for NRDC, it “sides with EPA, claiming a maximum cost of $14.6 billion by 2020 with offsetting benefits between $37 and $60 billion,” writes Simpson.

In the view of The New York Times, this amounts to a “big win” for environmentalists, by which they mean the left. But it looks to us like bad policy for America, as well as bad journalism by the Times.


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