Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked its 40th birthday. In 1970, the Nixon Administration established the EPA as a cabinet-level agency in response to public concern to do something about the deteriorating conditions of our water, air and lands. EPA’s broad mandate was to “protect human health and the environment.” The EPA would take charge of all U.S. pollution control and associated regulatory programs.
The EPA began with an annual budget of $1 billion and 4,000 employees. Before President Obama, the EPA’s budget was about $8 billion with 18,000 employees. This budget does not include the thousands of outside consultants and contractors under millions of dollars of EPA-administered government grants and loans. The EPA is the first and largest national government environmental regulatory agency in the world. The EPA is also the most costly – Obama has recently increased its budget by $10 billion. There are some 20 major U.S. federal environmental laws enacted for EPA and allied-agency jurisdictions.
• Vehicle and industrial air pollutants are inventoried and controlled;
• Hazardous and toxin substances and materials are inventoried and controlled;
• Agricultural and food pollutants are controlled;
• Solid wastes and drinking waters are controlled;
• Sewage, industrial, runoff and agricultural wastewaters are controlled;
• Coastal and fisheries pollution is controlled;
• Endangered flora and fauna are protected;
• Oil and mining pollutants are controlled;
• Cultural, historic and scenic resources are protected;
• EPA is an active “stakeholder” in local, state and federal environmental impact assessments and approvals.
• EPA and related environmental regulations cost over 5% of U.S. annual gross domestic product (GDP) – the equivalent of the costs of U.S. national security and homeland security combined;
• During the 40 years since EPA regulations expansion, U.S. average unemployment increased by 33.3% over pre-EPA unemployment;
• Environmental regulations inflate the costs of all goods, services, energies and activities;
• Many EPA federal regulatory programs are enacted to rest final enforcement responsibilities in certified state programs – these programs become very costly, long-term, un-funded liabilities in the states;
• Many EPA and related environmental regulations are conflicting or redundant;
• As EPA has become politicized, it has become an eco-group lobbyist target for exploitation;
• With the growth of green-obsessed government bureaucracies, EPA is susceptible to expensive frauds such as “climategate” and the “new green economy”;
• EPA’s new Administrator under Obama, Lisa Jackson, will issue extra-congressional orders such as setting stricter carbon standards for gasoline, rolling back federal subsidies for oil and gas development, slashing tax breaks and royalty waivers for energy industries.
After 40 years of EPA environmental controls and successes, America leads the world in environmental protection. So, we should concede that our environmental regulatory system is complete, and that most pollution problems are solved, or are under active management.
As the U.S. struggles through a third year of historic economic hardship with record unemployment, we don’t need any more costly environmental regulations. What we need is a complimentary U.S. energy policy.
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