Is there a sight that more gloriously encapsulates the beauty of modern political discourse than a corporate lobbyist filled with righteous indignation?
If, like The Sceptic Tank, your answer is "no, though a balaclava-clad anarchist chucking a fire extinguisher off the roof of a political party's headquarters runs pretty close", then brace yourself for an exemplar of the form courtesy of the good folk at the American Petroleum Institute.
First, the context. Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency issued guidance detailing how new greenhouse gas permitting rules for industrial plants that are due to come into effect at the start of January will require firms to use the best available technologies to curb emissions whenever they upgrade or build new facilities.
The guidance only applies when firms make major changes to existing facilities and will simply require them to use up-to-date energy-efficient technology that will save them money in the long run while cutting carbon emissions. Fears that businesses would be ordered to install costly carbon capture and storage systems have proved unfounded and the EPA reckons that from January it will be ready to start issuing permits in exactly the same way it issues permits for other industrial gases.
But it is all too little too late for the API's director of regulatory and scientific affairs, Howard Feldman. "The EPA is railroading job killing regulations onto states, localities and America's businesses, during a time of uncertain economic recovery, without giving those affected adequate time to review, provide comments, or even implement the new regulations," he said in a statement, presumably written while he blinked back the tears brought on by the sheer injustice of it all. "EPA's regulations take effect on 2 January 2011, but it's already November and the EPA is just now releasing guidance documents for permitting."
Oh, the humanity.
Companies that have known about these changes for months and boast legal and administrative departments that number by the battalion have only got two months to work out how to fill out a form. Has there ever been a greater injustice? Are they aware of this horror in the Hague? What can be done?
The Sceptic Tank would like to offer some helpful advice to the API on how to tackle this travesty, but sadly the last time he tried the "there wasn't enough time to get it done, sir" excuse, the teacher kindly explained that a deadline is a deadline and gave him a week's worth of detention.