Friday, September 17, 2021
HomeRecommendedEPA, Should it Go or Should it Stay?

EPA, Should it Go or Should it Stay?

Sometimes it pays to be old for you’ve seen things, like black and white TV or beer cans you had to punch a hole in the top to drink from, which a lot of people today think are only urban legends.

Once upon a time there was a need for the Environmental Protection Agency. And there still is…but as it was originally designed.

I was in a state environmental regulatory agency (strip mining) when the National Environmental Policy Act was passed by Congress in Dec 1969. It was part of a batch of environmental legislation from the late Johnson-thru early Nixon administrations that actually made some sense at the time. It included the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

At the time this was how a lot of America looked (Pittsburgh around 1968)

and southern California, midday

It was pretty nasty out there. As for water quality, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland actually caught fire! Yep. Fire. And a personal recollection, my family split our summer vacations between Florida and Detroit (respective grandparents), and of course we all preferred Florida so we could do the beach thing for 2-3 days. But in 1960 my dad decided to offer us the splendid beaches of Lake Erie near Toledo, where, although there were no signs posted, we instinctively knew not to even get close to the water, what with the trash, debris, and a dead fish every third step. We didn’t even inflate our inner tube.

Regardless of any ulterior leftwing motives behind all this environmental legislation, most of which have been realized, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act were good things. So was the EPA. They got the job done.

EPA was created by Richard Nixon, by executive order, to set out minimum standards for the states to regulate. Originally it wasn’t in the original design for EPA to regulate/enforce directly except in those few areas (interstate) where the states could not, such as major river effluents in the Ohio, Mississippi, etc. Mostly the federal government set minimum air and water quality standards and the states had to meet or better them.

Then it was the states that went around, like a traffic cop, with a citation booklet, passing out cease and desist orders and tickets. Not the feds.

Then something happened in the Carter years.

At this time of my tenure in the Department of Natural Resources, which oversaw Water, Forestry and Surface Mining we had one attorney, and I was his clerk. (Hold that number, One) I also subbed as a certified strip mine inspector.

In 1971, graduating from law school, I went into the Army, not to return to my old state digs until 1979, in Carter’s term. What I found then was that the Department of Natural Resources had moved from a small leased office complex to a giant new high rise across town, where, in just those few short years, the number of departmental attorneys exceeded the total number of employees the department had in 1971.

Call it mission shift, as I will explain.

Without going into a long boring history, what changed was open meetings laws and other federal/state enactments that mandated citizens be given notice of all public hearings, meetings etc, and eventually, that the people could demand still another hearing if they disagreed with the findings of those hearings. A bureaucrat-lawyers dreamland.

These were lawyer’s relief acts for the private sector too, since besides providing a need for more lawyers in every state agency, it encouraged environmental groups that just a few years earlier had spent most of their time outside hiking and watching birds, doing the John Muir thing, (Wilderness Club, Sierra Club, even Audubon Society) to become fully-armed lobbying, litigation and activists in the state and federal political arenas.

And somewhere along the way, we, the taxpayers, started paying much of these not-for-profit NGO lobbyists’ legal expenses, which, needless to say, was a great encouragement to sue.

Environmentalists always had the numerical advantage, since they were organized, and could always bring at least fifty ne’er do well layabouts and rich kids to any public meeting as a way to stampede any proceedings while interested citizen on the other side of the issue were still at work.

Two conflicting EPA missions

By the time Reagan became president in 1980, this shifting of weight from the field to the front office highlighted a struggle for the soul of the EPA . But because RR’s administration was none too keen about broadening EPA’s power, slowing down the environmentalist front considerably, it would be the Clinton era before these distinctions became manifest.

This conflict is at the heart of every regulatory agency (as originally created) in America, pitting 1) the primary mission to observe, measure, and report, which is ever-lasting against  2) the  secondary mission to regulate and enforce, which diminishes once air and water goals have been attained.

The first mission is heavy with technicians, scientists, etc, and in theory, their mission is never-ending for we will always needs someone to check the pH of a creek or collect air samples and do analysis.

It was what would happen with this information that would change, for they would then send this data to a front office who would then evaluate it against current standards for any required action. Since 90% of businesses were in compliance there wasn’t much for this office to do but file the reports away.

This is because, despite the jawboning that went on between private industry and the government, every knew the air and water had to be made cleaner. In every sphere, water and air, companies big and small attended to their duty of cleaning up their emissions. And just as designed, by 1992 virtually all the goals originally set forth in the original Air and Water acts had been met. If Pittsburgh’s air had been a table cloth, you could eat off of it. And the Allegheny and Monongahela, and downstream to the Ohio, you could fish once again, and even eat it.

(Oh, if you know anything about ambient temperatures, i.e., how hot a boiling pot of water is 5-10-20-30 minutes after you turn the burner off, rising earth temperatures from all that pollution in 1968, which wasn’t completely shut off until the 1980s, didn’t begin to subside until the early 1990’s. By 1998 earth temperatures started to cool and have been since, even though the burner had been shut off about 10-12 years earlier. If you’re looking for motive, it is probably the knowledge that this rice bowl was about to end for scientists, in the 1990s, that set off   the global warming scam today.)

In any case, by 1994 90%-95% of all that air and water pollution in America had been been cleaned up and it had primarily been done by EPA promulgating rules which Congress enacted and the states enforced.

Mission accomplished? Nope, instead the EPA grew and grew and grew, not just in power, but scope, and yes, personnel.  By 1992 EPA’s regulatory-enforcement section should have reverted, like my old office in Natural Resources, to a 2-3 man law firm.

(Although not a fan of Wikipedia, I’ve attached their link to see  how the agency has grown since 1992…almost all the “programs” are Clinton-era or later.)

Why EPA didn’t revert to design was because of two things, both  bureaucratic imperatives and a leftist environmental agenda.

Seeing that the 1970 mission had been accomplished, environmental lobbyists pressed Congress to broaden EPA’s power to regulate and enforce rules on their own, as well as grant them newer “territory” to manage. It helped that by raising standards beyond reasonableness, the enforcement branch could become  more active. (Call it a jobs stimulus.)  It would be an interesting study to compile the list of citations issued from 1994-to date that were considered legal and safe in the 70s and 80s…when the environment was 90% dirtier and more polluted.

The agency came up with questionable legal definition, grabbing jurisdiction from states it really didn’t have. Claim-jumping. To keep companies at bay it had to have a whip with which to threaten them, essentially, as we’ve seen increasingly under the Obama regime, by threatening to put them out of business if they challenged them in court. Extortion. The Chicago way.

EPA also works best in regions where they know they have leftie federal judges who will back them up.

Anyone who understands bureaucratic imperatives always knew this is where  EPA would end up with the right support:

1. The power to write law without Congress. In 1967, the Johnson Administration passed the Administrative Procedures Act, in which it passed its “law” making authority over to various agencies, without direct congressional approval. Congress maintained some oversight and the power of the purse;

2. The power to fine (seize corporate assets) without due process of law. I haven’t looked at recent cases, but the federal Bureau of Mines was taken to court in the 1970’s about their power to issue really sizable fines without any recourse to courts to question the agency’s finding of facts in the ground. SCOTUS (I think a Carter court) agreed; a chain of case law which should be reviewed and reversed.

3. The power to shut down a business indefinitely and sometimes totally, up to and including company files as we saw with the Gibson Guitar case (Fish and Wildlife, Interior). When I was inspecting strip mines, we had the power to shut jobs down for as many as 14 days, and on the sole word of a field agent. But in the states this carries certain political backlash that made these relatively rare, i.e., plenty of warnings, few shut-down orders. The feds have have greatly broadened that power, due to the fact they feel they are beyond the reach of political backlash;

4. The Global Warming scam, which EPA has not only bought into, but c0-sponsored, has provided EPA with an agency version of perpetual need. The threat of global warming will always be there they say (by design) and so will the need for super-agencies to exist to be able to “stay one step ahead” of the next environmental-climate disaster, always just around the corner.

Any victim will do.

Bill Clinton started this, and should I say cynically, since his buddies at Tyson were polluting every creek in three states under his protection, but if I’m government and I want more money, just find a victim. That’s the rule: Any victim will do.

In air pollution, it was asthma sufferers who were its justification to improve air quality emissions by 1%-2%….while costing more money than the American taxpayers had invested 1970-1988 reducing it 90%!

LadyImpactOhio, who has done a series of environmental reports here, from EPA, Energy, Interior and others, in late December reported EPA was using the same old victimology line along with phony climate-change statistics and questionable (false) fatality predictions to justify doing just as Obama had promised in 2008; to shut down the coal industry in America.

This isn’t just the state of the EPA, but the entire regulatory regime in America today.

From where we were in 1970 to where we’d come by 1998, let alone 2012, there is no justification for the EPA to be much bigger than it was in 1973.

But to roll it back certain other things need to be done by a strong executive and strong congressional leadership, (excuse me, I just lost my teeth laughing so hard) by requiring Congress to start writing its own laws once again instead of passing the buck and the bucks, to the agencies. The chief executive can do most of the rest.

The EPA is the poster boy for all the other agencies, such as OSHA, Interior, Energy, Labor, …so should be looked upon as Gaetan Dugas, Patient Zero, in the AIDS proliferation in the 80s or maybe even Typhoid Mary. EPA’s all of them, a pandemic rather than a specific pain in the butt.

Identify the virus at EPA and you can come up with a vaccine against the whole Washington bureaucratic machinery.

Panetta and Obama have just ordered the RIF of 8400 DoD civilian employees, with another 100, ooo uniformed men and women in queue.

So, imagine the possibilities here.

(Note: Bureaucracy-busting is my consultancy’s bailiwick to some extent, so take note, to de-bureaucratize certain large organizations, public or private, requires a certain amount of stealth. You can’t blow hard about it on the stump. It requires intricate planning and execution, for hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat about to be jerked away from the teat. They can and will do more than squeal.)

vassarbushmills
Citizen With Bark On

16 COMMENTS

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Vassar, I am not sure which one of these agencies has raised by BP the most. Interior, Energy or EPA. I seem to waffle back & forth depending on the “bad news du jour.”
    But right now it’s the EPA because of its unrealistic and what I call *deliberate attempt* to bankrupt the coal industry with their phony data and false death predictions. They are also after a fracking company in WY for allegedly putting pollutants into wells but findings are *questionable.*

    https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204026804577098112387490158.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    And I ran into this last night: EPA has a *grant program* for “environmental justice” and awards bucks each year EOed by Clinton to various “groups.”

    https://www.epa.gov/fedfac/documents/executive_order_12898.htm

    https://epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/grants/ej-smgrants-recipients-2011.pdf

    Below IMO is the most egregious and should raise anyone’s BP. Area 8:

    Recipient: Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT)
    Project Name: Clean Air: an arts/environmental education project for west side schools in Salt Lake City
    Project Location: Salt Lake City, UT
    Issue: Clean Air Act
    The Repertory Dance Theater uses the arts to educate Salt Lake City youth about impacts of air pollution. Repertory Dance Theatre plans to conduct ten Arts/Environmental Residency Programs in K-6 schools in the west and central areas of Salt Lake City and to use the arts to help students understand the impacts of air pollution on the environment their health. The project intends to produce innovative lectures, demonstrations and movement classes in 10 elementary schools. Kinesthetic learning will be used to examine air quality issues and encourage youth and their families to adopt healthy living practices. Participants will be guided through fun problem solving activities focusing on understanding the need for clean air and preventative methods to decrease pollution at home.

    .

    Right now I am too timid to look at the previous years. Yes I believe EPA has majorly overstepped its bounds to the detriment of all of us, a concept the environuts won’t comprehend until the lights go out and their computers die.

  2. We’re are about to see a mandate that will cause the nation’s truckers to replace their diesel engines (about $25K) to meet ever more stringent clean air standards. The American Truckers Association is on board for this. The big trucking companies don’t mind so much as they know this will run out a lot of indie truckers.

    There goes the little guy again. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

    • Here we go TG. Page 14 on the *grants.*

      Recipient: Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
      Project Name: Kings County Diesel Education, Emission Reduction and Environmental Health (KC DEEP)
      Project Location: Kettleman City and Avenal Kings County, CA
      Issue: Diesel emission reduction and education effort
      The Kings County Diesel Education, Emission Reduction and Environmental Health Project aims to reduce diesel emissions in San Joaquin Valley communities. The project seeks to reduce diesel emissions impacting the air quality of Kettleman City and Avenal, where primarily low income, Spanish-speaking Latinos reside. The project will create a diesel education and emissions program model that can be distributed to other San Joaquin Valley communities that are impacted by diesel pollution. Greenaction will conduct community outreach to educate stakeholders (including community members, businesses, truckers and trucking companies, schools, bus drivers and parents) about diesel issues impacting their community and encourage equipment changes that will lead to a reduction of emissions and improve residents’ respiratory health.

  3. I think the operative word here is…..environment. One thing we have here at Unified Patriots is an ideas forum and a learning….environment. Many of the historical references you bring are not known except to the seniors among us, or those who have taken the time to educate themselves on the topic, so thanks for that.
    As you mention, it was a noble endeavor to fight air pollution and water pollution. Air and Water are a big, big part of our “environment”, thus if someone is going to take it upon themselves to ‘protect’ the environment, they have a big playground to begin with, even if the supposition is that it is being ‘protected’ for the benefit of animal, mostly human, life. Of course, more terminology enters the fray – like “quality”. Then, if the goal is to improve, or maximize quality, what defines quality? Well, if the presence of “pollutants” affects quality, then you have to define ‘pollutant’. And we’re off to the races.Is warm air a pollutant? Most of us don’t think so, even though some think a warm globe causes problems. Since there is no agency set up to protect against warm air, one had to be found which could regulate something associated with the air. Voila! And back to definitions. We are now to the point where the air itself, that which comes out of my mouth when I exhale, and which exists relative to vegetative and other natural processes, is defined as a pollutant. That is, air and pollutant are synonymous. When things get so crazy that one man’s environment is another man’s pollutant, somebody had better pour on the stealth because we’ve come a long way, baby, to get where we got to today.

  4. I think it was Rush that once said the modern EPA should be merged into the DOD. By exporting its policies and enforcements, it could destroy our enemies’ economies and countries more thoroughly than our military ever could. Hilarious – if it werent so true.

  5. “In air pollution, it was asthma sufferers who were its justification to improve air quality emissions by 1%-2%”.

    Yes, of course. Asthma sufferers. And so in this case, as well as those trying to breathe out (carbon dioxide)being the problem, as I mentioned above, we also have
    those
    just
    trying
    to
    breathe

    being the problem:

    “Asthma inhaler being phased out by FDA: Why? – HealthPop – CBS …

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20110642-10391704.html

    Sep 23, 2011 – Asthma patients must switch to environmentally friendly inhaler by Dec. 31, FDA ”

    Note it was not the EPA who ruled the inhalers must go, it was the FDA. i.e., the FDA, who is supposed to look after the folk, has fallen under the spell of the EPA, which is supposed to look after the environment..for the sake of….the folk?

  6. All that is required is to get rid of EPA’s quasi-legislative rule making power, which, I believe can be done with Exec Order and return them to a formulator of rules and policies for Congress (i.e., the political process) to enact. Return enforcement to the states. And, get rid of (repeal) most or all of the new “programs” they have taken on since 1992.

    Short of repealing the original 1970 legislation, and returning the country to 1968, where there was no clear law regulation emissions, etc, the EPA cannot be abolished.

    • But EO can be overturned at the whim of any president, even the one who originally made the order, no? So if this is the case we could have a back and forth with the EPA depending on who is POTUS. And we all know that Obama will never do this. They are one of the prime *agencies* he is using to carry out his master plan to get rid of fossil fuels in this country.

    • *Some say* 🙂 that it was Iron Eyes Cody (the Italian actor) who did more to stop pollution than the EPA. Whether that’s true or not, others say Julia Roberts is the real hero of the movement. (though the jury is still out on whether anyone was actually proven to be harmed by PG & E and investigators are still combing the countryside trying to find a victim of the Love Canal).
      Executive orders come and go, but what would be instructive here are historical examples of how bureaucracies, fiefdoms and propaganda mills have been successfully reduced to their original stature, status and function. At the same time , assuming we are still going to have federal mandates and we are still going to have a Department of Transportation, wouldn’t it be possible, to reduce redundancy in the government, for legislation to direct DOT to insure automotive companies continue placing catalytic converters on vehicles? If we are going to continue to have a Department of Energy, wouldn’t it be possible to task DOE with insuring scrubbers are in place on smokestacks at electricity-generating stations? And If we are going to continue to have a Department of the Interior, couldn’t they be tasked with …well,you could continue the thought.
      It is not only the original authorizing legislation for the EPA that is the problem, it is libraries full of Congressional and State codes, and federal and state agency rules and procedures not only meant to conform to the promulgated EPA rules, but to guide every decision-making proces of every governmental entity and every private business in the US. (And that ridiculous .0000000001 ug/m2 level of concentration for mercury or whatever element. Who is going to roll that back? Do we leave that to the ten employees still left at EPA? Talk about concentration of power!) All that is not going to evaporate, and it is highly doubtful that the greedy industrial barons are soon going to revert to their old habits and obscure the Pittsburgh skyline. For one thing, there aren’t any industrial barons anymore.
      If we are going to continue to have the alphabet soup of federal departments, agencies and commissions, then let’s follow Gov. Perry’s advice and send Congress home and let the executive branch run the country as a cost-saving measure.

  7. Would beg to differ that EPA was ever needed.
    Pittsburgh or LA just were not federal prerogatives.
    I would agree on a federal role for waterways and even interstate air pollution, IF the states involved could not agree on solutions.
    Then let the courts handle it. They are they to resolve controversies between the states.

    State DNR, DEP, and DEQs, like you clerked for can handle intrastate pollution. The real check on their power being the competitive environment created by 50 different states, some stricter some more relaxed in their regulatory schemes.

    The moment EPA was created it’s current form was inevitable. As Reagan used to say the only thing close to immortality on earth is a government bureaucracy. So being a good thing is not enough. The question has to be, “is this new bureaucracy absolutely essential?”, ie. will the Republic fall without it? If the answer is no then it should never be brought into existence. The EPA, along with most of the federal government fails that question and should be smashed into a million pieces then scattered across the fruited plain.

    • Sentimentally, I’d agree, Rogue…the sovereignty issue goes back to the old “a man can do anything with his property” claim. But one of the oldest common law rules is that down stream owners have rights against upstream polluters, as do down air. Pittsburgh had no right to pollute Morgantown. A federal court, federal law, and ultimately federal regulation.

      I’m a strict constructionist about the commerce clause but there are all sorts of public health justifications for legal interventions.

      The facts are in: 95% cleanup from those laws, 1970s.
      Undoing the bureaucracy, and how to do it, which Reagan never even tried, and was my biggest beef with him back then, is what we need to.

      • I agree with the downstream analogy in principle. But farm dust does affect those downwind and so does field burning as practiced in Idaho and other western states.
        And every time I get a chance I make sure to P1$$ in the headwaters of the LA water supply. Should that be a federal offense?

        Let the states handle it. Unless there is a clear connection between source and recipient and assuming the two states can’t work it out, then perhaps a limited federal role.

  1. Vassar, I am not sure which one of these agencies has raised by BP the most. Interior, Energy or EPA. I seem to waffle back & forth depending on the “bad news du jour.”
    But right now it’s the EPA because of its unrealistic and what I call *deliberate attempt* to bankrupt the coal industry with their phony data and false death predictions. They are also after a fracking company in WY for allegedly putting pollutants into wells but findings are *questionable.*

    https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204026804577098112387490158.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    And I ran into this last night: EPA has a *grant program* for “environmental justice” and awards bucks each year EOed by Clinton to various “groups.”

    https://www.epa.gov/fedfac/documents/executive_order_12898.htm

    https://epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/grants/ej-smgrants-recipients-2011.pdf

    Below IMO is the most egregious and should raise anyone’s BP. Area 8:

    Recipient: Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT)
    Project Name: Clean Air: an arts/environmental education project for west side schools in Salt Lake City
    Project Location: Salt Lake City, UT
    Issue: Clean Air Act
    The Repertory Dance Theater uses the arts to educate Salt Lake City youth about impacts of air pollution. Repertory Dance Theatre plans to conduct ten Arts/Environmental Residency Programs in K-6 schools in the west and central areas of Salt Lake City and to use the arts to help students understand the impacts of air pollution on the environment their health. The project intends to produce innovative lectures, demonstrations and movement classes in 10 elementary schools. Kinesthetic learning will be used to examine air quality issues and encourage youth and their families to adopt healthy living practices. Participants will be guided through fun problem solving activities focusing on understanding the need for clean air and preventative methods to decrease pollution at home.

    .

    Right now I am too timid to look at the previous years. Yes I believe EPA has majorly overstepped its bounds to the detriment of all of us, a concept the environuts won’t comprehend until the lights go out and their computers die.

  2. We’re are about to see a mandate that will cause the nation’s truckers to replace their diesel engines (about $25K) to meet ever more stringent clean air standards. The American Truckers Association is on board for this. The big trucking companies don’t mind so much as they know this will run out a lot of indie truckers.

    There goes the little guy again. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

    • Here we go TG. Page 14 on the *grants.*

      Recipient: Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
      Project Name: Kings County Diesel Education, Emission Reduction and Environmental Health (KC DEEP)
      Project Location: Kettleman City and Avenal Kings County, CA
      Issue: Diesel emission reduction and education effort
      The Kings County Diesel Education, Emission Reduction and Environmental Health Project aims to reduce diesel emissions in San Joaquin Valley communities. The project seeks to reduce diesel emissions impacting the air quality of Kettleman City and Avenal, where primarily low income, Spanish-speaking Latinos reside. The project will create a diesel education and emissions program model that can be distributed to other San Joaquin Valley communities that are impacted by diesel pollution. Greenaction will conduct community outreach to educate stakeholders (including community members, businesses, truckers and trucking companies, schools, bus drivers and parents) about diesel issues impacting their community and encourage equipment changes that will lead to a reduction of emissions and improve residents’ respiratory health.

  3. I think the operative word here is…..environment. One thing we have here at Unified Patriots is an ideas forum and a learning….environment. Many of the historical references you bring are not known except to the seniors among us, or those who have taken the time to educate themselves on the topic, so thanks for that.
    As you mention, it was a noble endeavor to fight air pollution and water pollution. Air and Water are a big, big part of our “environment”, thus if someone is going to take it upon themselves to ‘protect’ the environment, they have a big playground to begin with, even if the supposition is that it is being ‘protected’ for the benefit of animal, mostly human, life. Of course, more terminology enters the fray – like “quality”. Then, if the goal is to improve, or maximize quality, what defines quality? Well, if the presence of “pollutants” affects quality, then you have to define ‘pollutant’. And we’re off to the races.Is warm air a pollutant? Most of us don’t think so, even though some think a warm globe causes problems. Since there is no agency set up to protect against warm air, one had to be found which could regulate something associated with the air. Voila! And back to definitions. We are now to the point where the air itself, that which comes out of my mouth when I exhale, and which exists relative to vegetative and other natural processes, is defined as a pollutant. That is, air and pollutant are synonymous. When things get so crazy that one man’s environment is another man’s pollutant, somebody had better pour on the stealth because we’ve come a long way, baby, to get where we got to today.

  4. I think it was Rush that once said the modern EPA should be merged into the DOD. By exporting its policies and enforcements, it could destroy our enemies’ economies and countries more thoroughly than our military ever could. Hilarious – if it werent so true.

  5. “In air pollution, it was asthma sufferers who were its justification to improve air quality emissions by 1%-2%”.

    Yes, of course. Asthma sufferers. And so in this case, as well as those trying to breathe out (carbon dioxide)being the problem, as I mentioned above, we also have
    those
    just
    trying
    to
    breathe

    being the problem:

    “Asthma inhaler being phased out by FDA: Why? – HealthPop – CBS …

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20110642-10391704.html

    Sep 23, 2011 – Asthma patients must switch to environmentally friendly inhaler by Dec. 31, FDA ”

    Note it was not the EPA who ruled the inhalers must go, it was the FDA. i.e., the FDA, who is supposed to look after the folk, has fallen under the spell of the EPA, which is supposed to look after the environment..for the sake of….the folk?

  6. All that is required is to get rid of EPA’s quasi-legislative rule making power, which, I believe can be done with Exec Order and return them to a formulator of rules and policies for Congress (i.e., the political process) to enact. Return enforcement to the states. And, get rid of (repeal) most or all of the new “programs” they have taken on since 1992.

    Short of repealing the original 1970 legislation, and returning the country to 1968, where there was no clear law regulation emissions, etc, the EPA cannot be abolished.

    • But EO can be overturned at the whim of any president, even the one who originally made the order, no? So if this is the case we could have a back and forth with the EPA depending on who is POTUS. And we all know that Obama will never do this. They are one of the prime *agencies* he is using to carry out his master plan to get rid of fossil fuels in this country.

    • *Some say* 🙂 that it was Iron Eyes Cody (the Italian actor) who did more to stop pollution than the EPA. Whether that’s true or not, others say Julia Roberts is the real hero of the movement. (though the jury is still out on whether anyone was actually proven to be harmed by PG & E and investigators are still combing the countryside trying to find a victim of the Love Canal).
      Executive orders come and go, but what would be instructive here are historical examples of how bureaucracies, fiefdoms and propaganda mills have been successfully reduced to their original stature, status and function. At the same time , assuming we are still going to have federal mandates and we are still going to have a Department of Transportation, wouldn’t it be possible, to reduce redundancy in the government, for legislation to direct DOT to insure automotive companies continue placing catalytic converters on vehicles? If we are going to continue to have a Department of Energy, wouldn’t it be possible to task DOE with insuring scrubbers are in place on smokestacks at electricity-generating stations? And If we are going to continue to have a Department of the Interior, couldn’t they be tasked with …well,you could continue the thought.
      It is not only the original authorizing legislation for the EPA that is the problem, it is libraries full of Congressional and State codes, and federal and state agency rules and procedures not only meant to conform to the promulgated EPA rules, but to guide every decision-making proces of every governmental entity and every private business in the US. (And that ridiculous .0000000001 ug/m2 level of concentration for mercury or whatever element. Who is going to roll that back? Do we leave that to the ten employees still left at EPA? Talk about concentration of power!) All that is not going to evaporate, and it is highly doubtful that the greedy industrial barons are soon going to revert to their old habits and obscure the Pittsburgh skyline. For one thing, there aren’t any industrial barons anymore.
      If we are going to continue to have the alphabet soup of federal departments, agencies and commissions, then let’s follow Gov. Perry’s advice and send Congress home and let the executive branch run the country as a cost-saving measure.

  7. Would beg to differ that EPA was ever needed.
    Pittsburgh or LA just were not federal prerogatives.
    I would agree on a federal role for waterways and even interstate air pollution, IF the states involved could not agree on solutions.
    Then let the courts handle it. They are they to resolve controversies between the states.

    State DNR, DEP, and DEQs, like you clerked for can handle intrastate pollution. The real check on their power being the competitive environment created by 50 different states, some stricter some more relaxed in their regulatory schemes.

    The moment EPA was created it’s current form was inevitable. As Reagan used to say the only thing close to immortality on earth is a government bureaucracy. So being a good thing is not enough. The question has to be, “is this new bureaucracy absolutely essential?”, ie. will the Republic fall without it? If the answer is no then it should never be brought into existence. The EPA, along with most of the federal government fails that question and should be smashed into a million pieces then scattered across the fruited plain.

    • Sentimentally, I’d agree, Rogue…the sovereignty issue goes back to the old “a man can do anything with his property” claim. But one of the oldest common law rules is that down stream owners have rights against upstream polluters, as do down air. Pittsburgh had no right to pollute Morgantown. A federal court, federal law, and ultimately federal regulation.

      I’m a strict constructionist about the commerce clause but there are all sorts of public health justifications for legal interventions.

      The facts are in: 95% cleanup from those laws, 1970s.
      Undoing the bureaucracy, and how to do it, which Reagan never even tried, and was my biggest beef with him back then, is what we need to.

      • I agree with the downstream analogy in principle. But farm dust does affect those downwind and so does field burning as practiced in Idaho and other western states.
        And every time I get a chance I make sure to P1$$ in the headwaters of the LA water supply. Should that be a federal offense?

        Let the states handle it. Unless there is a clear connection between source and recipient and assuming the two states can’t work it out, then perhaps a limited federal role.

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