Sunday, January 29, 2017

EPA Delenda Est

Among all the agencies that have gone power mad in the Obama era, EPA stands out as one of the worst. But what to do about it? Jay Lehr, writing at Watts Up With That proposes a solution: The Beginning of the End of EPA
Beginning around 1981, however, radical Leftists realized they could advance their political agenda by taking over the environmental movement and use it to advocate for ever-more draconian regulations on businesses. Environmentalists allowed this take-over to occur because it brought massive funding from liberal foundations, political power, and prestige.

Politicians realized they could win votes by pandering to the environmental movement, repeating their pseudo-scientific claims, and posing as protectors of nature and the public health. The wind, solar, and ethanol industries saw they could use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies.

Today, EPA is a captive of activist and special-interest groups. Its regulations have nothing to do with protecting the environment. Its rules account for nearly half of the $2 trillion annual cost of complying with all national regulations in the United States.
I would say it's a bit of an overstatement to claim "Its regulations have nothing to do with protecting the environment", but it doesn't stray far from the truth, at least when it comes to recent extensions of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. So that's the problem. Now, what's the solution?
The solution is to return this authority to the states, replacing EPA with a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.

State EPAs already have primary responsibility for the implementation of the nation’s environmental laws and EPA regulations. With more than 30 years of experience, these state agencies are ready to take over management of the nation’s environment.

Accountable to 50 governors and state legislatures, state EPAs are more attuned to real-world needs and trade-offs. Located in 50 state capitols, they are less vulnerable to the Left’s massive beltway lobbying machine.

The Committee would be made up of representatives from each state. EPA could be phased out over five years, which could include a one-year preparation period followed by a four-year program in which 25 percent of the agency’s activities would be passed to the Committee each year.

Seventy-five percent of EPA’s budget could be eliminated and most of the remainder would pay for national research labs. A small administrative structure would allow the states to refine existing environmental laws in a manner more suitable to protecting our environment without thwarting the development of our natural resources and energy supplies.
One problem with this answer is the problem of cross border pollution. For example, the nutrient pollution in Chesapeake Bay brought down the Susquehanna River from New York, Pennsylvania and Westbygod Virginia who do not border the bay.  Such states have little incentive to curb pollution into the Bay other than good will. This is not a show stopper for me, but some provision must be made for dealing with such pollution.

On the other hand, EPA delenda est.

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