January 28, 2011

Why We Must Replace the EPA! GREAT PIECE!!!

American Solutions
written by Steve Everly
Thursday January 27, 2011

Of all the government agencies that have become unnecessary barriers to job creation and economic growth, the Environmental Protection Agency is the worst offender.

Since its founding 40 years ago, the EPA has transformed from an agency with the original noble mission of protecting the environment into a job-killing, centralizing engine of ideological litigation and regulation that blocks economic progress. The EPA's current push to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, and thereby the entire American economy, is the latest and definitive proof that the EPA has gone well beyond its original mandate.

Even worse, the EPA has become the bureaucracy of choice for Presidents and ideologues to exert more control over the decision making of the private sector and local and state governments, stifling the very innovation and entrepreneurship that is necessary to achieve a cleaner environment.

Here are but a few examples of how the EPA has become a job-killing agency:

Revoking Approved Permits: The EPA recently voided a previously-approved permit issued for the Spruce No. 1 coal mine in West Virginia, the first time in the Clean Water Act's forty-year history that an approved permit has been retracted by the EPA. This sets a dangerous precedent for all future operations, as the EPA's decision means all currently approved permits are now subject to agency review, which in turn means no company that has followed the rules and obtained the necessary approval can have any confidence or certainty about its operations. Such ambiguity is often referred to an "uncertainty tax," as it imposes costs on business operations similar to those arising from a tax.

Regulation of Carbon Dioxide: The Clean Air Act was written to address numerous air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to ozone pollution and acid rain. It was not intended to regulate carbon dioxide. The EPA's decision to regulate CO2 under the Act actually confirmed that fact: Under the EPA's plan, the Clean Air Act would have to be rewritten to delineate that carbon will be regulated at a different threshold than other air pollutants. Miraculously, the EPA has granted itself the power to rewrite its own statutory authority, a power that is constitutionally reserved only for Congress. If the Clean Air Act must be changed to justify the regulation of carbon, then it's clear that the law as written was never intended to cover carbon.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards: The EPA's own economic analysis (PDF) of NAAQS for nitrogen dioxide concluded that the costs of this regulation would dramatically outweigh the benefits. In fact, under virtually all possible scenarios the EPA found that the benefit (in dollars) would be zero. There is absolutely no justification for a regulation that imposes millions of dollars in costs and minimal-at-best environmental benefits.

Boiler MACT: In June 2010, the EPA proposed the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters. Also referred to as the "Boiler MACT" rule, this proposal sets limits on mercury, hydrogen chloride, and air pollutants. While reducing these emissions is necessary, the EPA's proposed rule is so stringent that virtually none of the covered entities will be able to comply with it. For example, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA), which represents several companies employing roughly 750,000 people, has noted that of their six best performing units, "none can comply with the standards" as set forth by EPA. If covered sources cannot meet the requirements, the result will be either perpetual and economy-wide noncompliance, or a complete shut down of industry. In fact, the regulation would be so costly that a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators (18 Democrats and 23 Republicans) wrote to the EPA in September 2010 asking for the EPA to scrap the boiler rule and start over.

Replace Not Reform

Some say the EPA should be reined in and reformed, but the agency's animus against the private sector runs deep within its operating culture. Efforts to change the way an inherently destructive agency does business will ultimately fail.

Since the EPA's first operating budget (fiscal year 1970), the agency's workforce has more than quadrupled, which coincides with the EPA now costing taxpayers more than ten times what it did forty years ago. At more than $10 billion, the EPA's annual budget exceeds the GDP of about 60 countries worldwide, and it has entrenched in the American psyche the notion that protecting the environment must come with high costs and a destructive culture of litigation. Such an agency cannot simply be reformed, as it has ingrained in itself for more than a generation the notion that environmental protection must coincide with bigger government and more litigation.

The EPA should be replaced with the Environmental Solutions Agency, which would incorporate the necessary statutory responsibilities of the old EPA while eliminating the job-killing regulatory abuses and power grabs of the old EPA. This would be achieved by bringing together science, technology, entrepreneurs, incentives, and local creativity to create a cleaner environment through smarter regulation.

Such an agency would create a stronger economy with more American jobs and more American energy, all while protecting human health and the environment. And at a time when Americans are demanding smaller government, the time to replace the EPA with a leaner, more efficient agency has never been better.

Replacement Has a Strong Track Record

Replacing federal agencies has been done many times before, and the history of the federal government confirms that agencies and offices are routinely replaced as they outline their original missions: The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was replaced by the CIA in 1947. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission replaced the Atomic Energy Commission in 1974. The Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002 to replace several agencies. Replacing the EPA with a new and improved Environmental Solutions Agency would thus be rooted in decades of comparable federal government reorganizations.

Additionally, there is strong evidence that cultural change can lead to dramatically improved results. Take, for example, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani's decision to change New York City's welfare offices into "Job Centers." In his book Leadership, Giuliani describes how New York City was "being destroyed by the preaching of entitlement," a cultural institution that "locked people into poverty." Instead of continuing to dole out entitlements to people who were out of work, Mayor Giuliani overhauled the fundamental culture and focused on the solution: getting people back to work. That kind of transformation would not have been possible had the mayor simply reformed how public assistance was distributed; it required a cultural shift to make people think about what will actually fix the problem. Giuliani's efforts led to a dramatic decline in welfare caseloads, and increased the number of people working to get off of public assistance.

Please click HERE to read the entire article... very long!

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