Environmental Protection Agency
I’ve decided to start a new feature here at United Liberty, one that would run on a monthly basis. I’m calling it “7 on the 7th.” It will be a list of 7 agencies, on the 7th of the month, that we should get rid of. The purpose is to showcase just how many government agencie that exist, which most Americans just don’t realize. While they may think the government does too much stuff, I doubt that many know just what the government really does. Most don’t know about the ridiculous organizations that are prt of our government, and I can say because I don’t know.
So this will be informative not just for you, dear reader, but also for yours truly. What sort of stupid things can we uncover? Feel free to submit your suggestions for next month’s feature in the comments (but please, don’t be silly and tell me we must get rid of the Department of Defense; we’re moderate, sensible libertarians here, not barking-at-the-moon anarcho-capitalists.) Hopefully, if enough on the web read this feature, we may be able to spark a genuine discussion about the role of government and what it should actually be doing, so when some politician says we need more money to fund essential services, we can tell him (or her) that nothing he (or she) is demanding funding for is actually essential.
Now, on to the inaugural list. For this one I’ve decided to go for the low-hanging fruit, to get them out of the way and remove temptations for future entries. I don’t really expect to surprise anyone with these, but that just goes to show you how many folks think a lot of what our government does is rubbish.
1 - Department of Homeland Security
The EPA has been sued in Federal Court by the American Tradition Institute (ATI) for allegedly pumping “…what they termed ‘lethal’ amounts of diesel exhaust, specifically small particulate matter termed ‘PM2.5,’ directly into the lungs of human volunteers who were not properly advised of the risks.” ATI’s Environmental Law Center Director, Dr. David Schnare had this to say:
It is difficult to overstate the atrocity of this research. EPA parked a truck’s exhaust pipe directly beneath an intake pipe on the side of a building. The exhaust was sucked into the pipe, mixed with some additional air and then piped directly into the lungs of the human subjects,
Apparently, the EPA recruited subjects (many of them sick and poor individuals) for the experiments but failed to inform them of the dangers of their participation (the Tuskegee experiments come to mind). Put bluntly: this violates every legal and ethical rule for proper scientific investigation there is.
Steve Milloy over at the Washington Times, penned:
Last week, we told you about an EPA administrator who compared his agency’s treatment of the oil industry to how Romans treated villages they conquered. The comment was met with outrage in conservative circles, understandably so, and gave a peak into how the oil industry is truly viewed in the Obama Administration.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the EPA administrator, Al Armendariz, who made the comment has now resigned and apologizes for what he said:
The Obama administration’s top environmental official in the oil-rich South Central region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe how he would go after companies violating environmental laws.
In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson sent Sunday, Al Armendariz says he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
“I have come to the conclusion that my continued service will distract you and the agency from its important work,” Armendariz wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the AP.
Republicans in Congress had called for Armendariz’ firing after Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe highlighted the May 2010 speech last week as proof of what he refers to as EPA’s assault on energy, particularly the technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
President Barack Obama appointed Armendariz in November 2009 at the urging of Texas-based environmental groups.
We’ve often wondered why President Barack Obama and his administration have had such a hostile view of oil companies. He insists that drilling up during his term, but Obama is taking credit for policies enacted by his predecessor. But much like his attacks on higher-income earners, Obama has targeted the oil industry and speculators with harsh rhetoric in attempt to distract Americans from his own failed energy policies.
We know that Obama’s own Energy Secretary is on record supporting higher gas prices. Obama has said himself that he didn’t have a problem with the cost of gas, rather that they rose too quickly. So we know where the rhetoric and proposed regulations are coming from. But there is something deeper here?
Via the Heritage Foundation, a video has surfaced where a regional administrator from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that the treatment of oil companies in the regulatory agency is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years”:
While Barack Obama says that his administration is concerned about rising energy costs and has an “all of the above” energy plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has imposed new carbon emissions regulations new coal plants:
The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants as early as Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the proposal. The move could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.
The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
Industry officials and environmentalists said in interviews that the rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls.
Because, seriously, it appears that government regulators have no idea what they’re doing or talking about.
In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency set a quota for a type of biofuel that does not exist outside of laboratories, and gasoline producers are racking up millions of dollars in fines for it. From the New York Times:
When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.
But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.
“It belies logic,” Charles T. Drevna, the president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association, said of the 2011 quota. And raising the quota for 2012 when there is no production makes even less sense, he said.
In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year.
You betcha, Charlie. It makes absolutely no sense. How can you add in something that does not exist? And then raise the quota for it? Let’s ask the spokesperson:
On Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that environmental policy is a matter that shouldn’t be worked out through the judicial system:
In the most significant global warming case to reach its front doors, the Supreme Court on Monday blocked a major lawsuit brought by states and environmental groups against five large power companies they accused of creating a public nuisance because of carbon dioxide emissions.
The court ruled 8-0 that the authority to set standards for reducing emissions lies with the Environmental Protection Agency, under air pollution rules established by the Clean Air Act. The court said just because the EPA hasn’t acted yet doesn’t mean that its authority is no longer valid.
The Clean Air Act “provides a means to seek limits on emissions of carbon dioxide from domestic power plants — the same relief the plaintiffs seek by invoking federal common law. We see no room for a parallel track,” reads the order written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“If EPA does not set emissions limits for a particular pollutant or source of pollution, states and private parties may petition for a rulemaking on the matter, and EPA’s response will be reviewable in federal court,” the decision continues.
The decision isn’t really anything to get overly excited about. The court did what it was supposed to do. Hopefully, Congress will find a way to prevent the EPA from implementing cap-and-trade through regulatory fiat.
Climate change. The mere mention of the term is bound to stir deep seated emotions regardless of political ideology, though that particular ideology may dictate what nature those emotions take. However, it’s difficult for many people to take it seriously. Why is that? Because they’ve been wrong before.
From The Daily Caller:
During the hearing, Republican Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming questioned the supposed need to enact policies to combat global warming by pointing to similar predictions in the 1970s of a global cooling phenomenon.
The exchange started with Barrasso addressing the committee’s witness, Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson.
“Forty years ago, the same scientists that are predicting the end of the world now from global warming were predicting the end of the world from global cooling,” said Barrasso. “So if we had committed the same amount of taxpayer resources and government manpower that the administration now wants us to commit to prevent global warming — if we’d done that prevent global cooling, we wouldn’t be the most prosperous nation on earth.”
He continued: “The fact is that the same doomsday predictions we were getting 40 years is the exact same thing this agency and this administration today. Only now…the problem is man-made global warming.”
In an attempt to preempt the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from imposing cap-and-trade regulations on Americans through regulatory fiat, House Republicans are preparing restrictions on the agency:
In a sharp challenge to the Obama administration, House Republican leaders intend to unveil legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases, officials said. They expect to advance the bill quickly.
EPA chief Lisa Jackson was due on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for the first time since Republicans took over the House and gained seats in the Senate. She probably will have to defend steps by the EPA to control air pollution and water pollution to Senate Republicans, who have introduced bills of their own to delay regulations aimed at abating climate change, or to bar the government from using any environmental law to fight global warming pollution.
Officials said the House bill, which was to be offered Wednesday, would nullify all of the steps the EPA has taken to date on the issue, including a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health.
In addition, it seeks to strip the agency of its authority to use the law in any future attempts to crack down on the emissions from factories, utilities and other stationary sources.
A vote on the greenhouse gases bill would occur first in the Energy and Commerce Committee, and is expected later this winter. The measure would then go to the House floor, where Republicans express confidence they have a strong enough majority to overcome objections by Democrats, many of whom are expected to oppose it on environmental grounds.
Carol Browner, who has served President Barack Obama’s climate change czar and previously as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in under Bill Clinton, will be leaving the administration:
Senior administration officials confirm reports that Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change, is departing the White House in the next few weeks.
A White House official says Browner will stay on as long as necessary to ensure an orderly transition.
“Carol is confident that the mission of her office will remain critical to the president and she is pleased with what will be in the State of the Union address tomorrow and in the budget on clean energy,” the official says. “She is proud of the administration’s accomplishments – from the historic investments in clean energy included in the Recovery Act to the national policy on vehicle efficiency that will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and lower consumers’ prices at the pump.”
That said, it’s unclear that Browner will be replaced. When Democrats controlled the House and Senate, they were unable to pass major energy legislation addressing climate change, and now that Republicans control the House and Senate, Democrats have an even narrower margin.
“On the question of what will happen to the position, the president’s commitment to these issues will, of course, continue but any transition of the office will be announced soon,” the official says.