Of all the agencies rooted in the 60s and 70s hippy movement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is by far the worst. It is directly and indirectly responsible for literally tens of thousands of rules and regulations affecting virtually every aspect of every American’s life. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Wayne Crews as reported in the Daily Caller, to merely comply with the EPA’s rules and regulations costs the United States’ economy $353 billion dollars per year. If Barack Obama has his way, that figure will more than double through the implementation of new “Greenhouse gas regulations.”
How the new regulations will be implemented parallels how Obamacare was conceived and thrust on America. Stealthy deceit is the modus operandi of the Obama administration. Whenever another onerous, unpopular and in many cases hated program is set to be rolled out, if it is anywhere near an election, it is punted until after. Such was the case for Obamacare, such was the case for the EPA’s new rules.
S. Fred Singer in an October 25, 2012 article for “American Thinker” quoted from a report issued earlier in the month by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “President Obama has spent the past year punting on a slew of job-killing EPA regulations that will destroy millions of American jobs and cause energy prices to skyrocket even more. From greenhouse gas regulations to water guidance to the tightening of the ozone standard, the Obama-EPA has delayed the implementation of rule after rule because they don’t want all those pink slips and price spikes to hit until after the election.” It has become a refrain by opponents of Obama and company, one that only now has gained notice as a result of Obamacare and the sundry scandals permeating the administration.
According to Singer, “the (EPA’s new) requirements are so strict, they virtually eliminate coal as a fuel option for future electric power generation. In a thinly veiled political move, the agency has put off finalizing the proposal until after the election. Similarly, EPA has punted on standards for existing power plants as well as refineries — standards which will further drive up electricity and gasoline prices. Once these regulations are in place, EPA will proceed to issue regulations, industry by industry, until virtually every aspect of the American economy is constrained by strict regulatory requirements and high energy prices.”
Recently however the first cracks in the EPA’s plans have appeared. Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller wrote yesterday (November 15, 2013) that under pressure from the energy industry, specifically oil, gas and petrochemicals, the EPA is “scaling back its ethanol blending requirement for 2014.”
Ethanol blending is the process of combining gasoline and ethanol derived primarily from corn. The process itself is highly controversial. Bastasch states, “The AP reported that 5 million acres of conservation land has been put into service since President Obama took (office), and more than 1.2 million acres of ‘virgin land’ in Nebraska and the Dakotas alone have been plowed into corn and soybean fields since 2006. The boom in corn production has meant more nitrogen fertilizer must be used. The fertilizer is toxic and has been known to cause ‘blue baby’ syndrome in children. Nitrogen fertilizer use shot up by one billion pounds between 2005 and 2010, and another billion pounds of fertilizer are estimated to have been used for corn production since then.” In other words, the EPA is promoting policies that kill the environment and people, precisely the opposite of what it was created to do. It is nothing short of madness and yet it continues without a scintilla of true Congressional oversight.
The Obama administration is no stranger to such unintended consequences. A case could be made for his tenure so far being nothing but unintended consequences. Equally as dangerous are the constitutional issues arising out of an agency’s or agencies’ actions when they overreach to the point of usurping Congress’ authority. In the EPA’s case, Congress, long asleep and happy to let a bureaucracy do its work, is finally stirring, but not much more. On August 1, 2013, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives passed The Energy Consumers Relief Act. The bill, sponsored by Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA), while an attempt at reigning in an out-of-control EPA, is fundamentally pointless. Rather than reasserting Congressional authority over the agency, it “would give the secretary (sic) of Energy the ability to block any EPA regulation deemed harmful to the economy.” In some quarters the bill would be considered a start, but it speaks to a frustrating mindset in Washington that feeds and kow-tows to the bureaucratic beasts rather than starving and controlling them.
The Secretary of Energy telling the EPA what it can and cannot do? It is a ludicrous plan which invites instantaneous chaos upon implementation. There should be no Department of Energy in the first place. In the second, one bureaucratic behemoth intertwining itself with another is an invitation to disaster for both. Public Administration 101 tells us that the more authority you give a bureaucracy, the more it will overextend that authority. Imagine the DOE having some control over the EPA. It would make the pre-911 intelligence community turf wars look like a touch football game between senior citizens.
Under Obama’s watch the stark reality of what happens when federal agencies are given free rein is frighteningly clear. From the National Security Agency and the CIA eavesdropping and spying on Americans to the IRS punishing people and groups for their political views, the federal bureaucratic structure is in need not of overhaul, but demolishing, the EPA being poster boy for the necessity and justification.
The United States no longer needs the Environmental Protection Agency in view of the overlap at the state level. The states are not only more capable of protecting their environments, they are more pragmatic in their approaches. The EPA on the other hand has become little more than a monstrous job-killing, economy crushing machine. Bureaucracies at the state level are more conscious of the effects of ill conceived and overly burdensome regulations on their economies. Being closer to the voting, taxpaying public, state environmental agencies are far more careful when it comes to unintended consequences. Indeed, with every state having at least one environmental protection agency (California has six), why is an EPA necessary except to perhaps coordinate multi-state efforts?
Republicans have an opportunity to dramatically reduce the size of most federal agencies and eliminate those which in any way duplicate activities at the state level. With trust in government at so low a level, Republicans can seize the moment if they have the guts.
The government we have is not the government we want or need, nor is it in any way what the Founders intended. The necessity for paring it to a manageable size is paramount, most Americans are beginning to understand that fact, especially now as almost every American is being directly impacted by the Obamacare disaster.