Thursday, February 10, 2011

Note To Republicans: Don’t Just Rein in the EPA, Abolish It

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was launched in 1970, its stated mission was to “conduct environmental research, provide assistance…[in] combating environmental pollution, and assist the Council on Environmental Quality in developing and recommending…new policies for environmental protection…to the President.” From these things, it’s clear that President Richard Nixon’s goal in creating the EPA was to put an agency in place that would fill a research and advisory role for both himself and future presidents. There was no indication that he intended an ideologically driven juggernaut that not only researched but actually took unto itself the power to mandate the most stringent of eco-centered, blatantly anti-capitalist environmental guidelines and regulations imaginable.

In fact, the EPA is so far from its original purposes that in just the past few years officials from that agency have addressed everything from regulating to livestock emissions (cow flatulence) to regulating America’s water supply to putting their own Cap and Trade regulations in place. The latter truly reveals just how much power the EPA has taken unto itself, insofar as members of that agency are trying to put Cap and Trade in place although the American people and the U.S. Senate have already rejected it on face value. (Cap and Trade would be a boon to the already burgeoned EPA in that it would not only allow them to write guidelines and flood manufacturers with new regulations, but it would also put them in the catbird seat as the ones who would enforce and oversee the implementation of the regulations they write.)

Fortunately, Republicans in the new Congress have seen the EPA’s latest power-grab for what it is and have offered two pieces of legislation to curtail the power of that mammoth agency. The bills, one of which was introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wo) and the other by Senator James Inhofe (R-Ok) and Representative Fred Upton (R-Mi), bar the EPA “from using its regulatory authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate industrial emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.” In doing this, the bills literally roll back the clock by taking away powers the EPA has unilaterally given itself during the last 40 years (like the power to regulate CO2 emissions).

The only disappointing thing about what Barrasso, Inhofe, and Upton are doing is that they don’t go far enough. In other words, it’s not just time to rein in the EPA but to abolish it.

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