Nov
28

Dump the EPA

By Katie Kieffer
Deepwater Horizon fire

Deepwater Horizon oil rig fire on April 21, 2010 off New Orleans by U.S. Coast Guard on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Like a bad lover, the EPA is a nagging, beguiling mooch. The EPA unconstitutionally barged into our lives and we need to break free from this destructive relationship; let’s give the EPA a two-letter title beginning with ‘E’ and ending with ‘X.’ President Nixon formed a group called the President’s Advisory Council on Executive Organization to help him sidestep Congress and mold public policy. On April 29, 1970, the Council wrote a memo advising Nixon to establish: “an Environmental Protection Administration, a new independent agency of the Executive Branch. … [and the] Executive Branch should be so structured that a high order of public interest is served in making policy, rather than a narrower advocacy position.” Four decades later, the EPA has grown into the President’s pet behemoth—a darling dragon he can fly to over Congress and blow fire onto America’s energy producers and job creators. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently told University of Wisconsin-Madison students that she is proud to work for a President who will bypass Congress and create his own rules via executive order: ‘I’m proud to be part of an EPA that has mobilized science and the law to create modern and innovative protections for the health of the American people. I’m also proud to be working for a president who has said that “we can’t wait” on these issues.’ Jackson may think our President is a king. Yet the Constitution prohibits the President from making laws or delegating lawmaking to an extra-Congressional committee. Federalist and framer Alexander Hamilton explains in “The Federalist No. 78” that Congress controls the purse strings and makes laws while the president merely enforces the laws: “The Executive … holds the sword of the community.” I’m sure Alexander Hamilton would slap the President’s hand if he caught him in the cookie jar—seizing taxpayer dollars from the federal purse to sustain an extra-Congressional, policy-making agency like the EPA. We already have Congress to make laws; we don’t need the EPA. “It has long been clear to me that elected representatives should write the rules, not the EPA,” Sen. Lindsey Graham has said. The EPA’s regulations are so burdensome, sweeping and impractical that it’s nearly impossible for energy companies to comply without going out of business. Hence, businesspeople in the energy industry increasingly find themselves facing enormous fines and even criminal allegations. In Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” a state scientist quips: “Did you really think we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. … We’re after power and we mean it. … There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.” Case in point: The April 20, 2010 BP oil rig explosion off the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused oil to seep uncontrollably for 87 days. When this fatal environmental accident occurred on the EPA’s watch, the EPA’s regulators and enforcement partners within the Interior Department blamed the oil industry instead of owning up to their incompetence and deceit. The Federal Government has charged BP as a “responsible party” in the spill and BP has set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims. The Justice Department is also leading a criminal investigation into the spill. Certainly BP’s laxity played a role in the accident. However, BP relied on government regulators and engineers who approved the use of a seal that had far too much cement and indeed reports now show that the excessive cement triggered the fatal explosion. The government approved the faulty seal and granted BP a “categorical exemption” from performing an environmental impact analysis on its Gulf of Mexico lease less than two weeks before the spill. Who are the “criminals” here? BP executives or the environmental regulators who governed BP? Per a 2007 Supreme Court Decision, the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases—only if scientific data shows that greenhouse gases endanger public health. But in September, the Associated Press revealed an internal government watchdog report: “The Obama administration cut corners…” because the EPA issued “controversial and expensive regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time” despite the fact that the EPA did not conduct sufficient scientific studies to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions do in fact “pose dangers to human health and welfare.” Today, tens of thousands of oil jobs (and therefore the public health) are in jeopardy because President Obama is citing faulty EPA data on greenhouse emissions to delay building the Keystone XL pipeline. The EPA claims to be “working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.” Instead, the EPA places the environment and public health in jeopardy. Let’s dump the EPA. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.

3 Responses to “Dump the EPA”

  1. Custom avatar SortOfAgree says:

    I like that Ayn Rand quote. I find it even more relevant for very common offenses like speed limits and marijuana possession.

  2. Custom avatar Lodzia says:

    Yes, Sophocles, and it is frightening the way the whole game is played.

    Almost crazy!

    Katie,
    I agree with your post.

  3. Custom avatar Sophocles says:

    Ayn Rand quote was quite appropriate; I never thought of that way of understanding the obsession among some people for creating rules and laws for others.