Milloy: GOP needs to start talking about EPA reform now

By Steve Milloy
September 19, 2012, Washington Times

One issue that has been noticeably absent from the Republican platform this election season is any discussion of the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It didn’t even come up at the Republican National Convention a couple of weeks ago. If the omission was an oversight, it was a big one. If it was intentional, it’s cause for concern.

The EPA has spent the better part of its 42-year existence trying to put America out of business, but especially under the Obama administration. You don’t believe me? Ask anyone in the coal industry, which has been victimized by the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, proposed greenhouse-gas-emission rules and usurpation of the Army Corps of Engineers’ permit-writing authority, to name just a few EPA abuses of power.

Even though the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was vaporized recently by a federal appellate court, the rule was in existence long enough to cause electric utilities to start planning for a coal-less future.

Until recently, the Obama EPA was aggressively pursuing the burgeoning shale gas industry, desperately trying to link hydraulic fracturing with drinking-water contamination. The Obama EPA went so far as to cook up an error-filled report linking “fracking” to groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyo., from which it has since had to retreat.

But the lull in the persecution of the shale gas industry is only temporary. The Obama administration has realized that the illusion of endless cheap natural gas is an even more effective weapon against the hated coal industry than draconian regulation. So once the coal industry has been finished off, the EPA will be able to return to targeting shale gas.

President Obama’s desire to be re-elected put on hold his EPA’s 2011 effort to tighten air-quality standards for ground-level ozone. With a price tag of more than $1 trillion in compliance costs and millions of jobs lost, the EPA plans to issue the rules in 2013, hopefully under a re-elected President Obama, but also under a President Romney if necessary.

The agency also is on track to finalize after the election new air-quality standards for particulate matter (dust and soot), which will make it even more difficult for industrial facilities to get permits to operate.

More than just imposing compliance costs, which are bad enough, the EPA’s arbitrary and heavy-handed regulation robs the American economy of new opportunities for growth. Facilities that could be built don’t get built because investors are scared away by onerous rules.

While the agency asserts that all its rules are necessary to protect the public health, the reality is that the environment is not and never has been a public health problem in the United States. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson is fond of saying that the agency is merely “doing what the science is telling us.” That statement, of course, is a howler for anyone who has ever taken a close look at EPA “science” and how it is cooked up, literally. That is, the EPA pays for research, pays the researchers to “review” their own research, ignores public criticism and then trots out the results as “independent.”

The EPA is a government horror story that is responsible for trillions of dollars in lost economic growth, trampled rights and liberties and perverted science. It needs to be reformed now.

EPA reform is a fundamental reason to vote for Mitt Romney and a Republican-controlled Congress in November. But if Mr. Romney and the Republicans never talk about the problem and the need for EPA reform, rest assured that it will be difficult to do if and when the time comes in 2013.

Even with a GOP-controlled government, the left’s demagogic skills will make reform efforts extremely difficult. After the 1994 GOP landslide, Clinton EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner single-handedly eviscerated efforts to reform the agency by exploiting the GOP’s failure to have made its case to the public beforehand.

The GOP’s failure to lambaste EPA during the Republican convention in August was no accident. Republican politicians are afraid of the EPA as an issue. If you think Social Security and Medicare reform are the third rail of American politics, at least Republicans will talk about them in public. But they won’t go near the EPA to any meaningful extent.

If Mr. Romney wins and Republicans control Congress, there will be a limited window of opportunity for significantly reforming the EPA in 2013. But Mr. Romney and the rest of the GOP need to start talking about it now.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery, 2009).

24 thoughts on “Milloy: GOP needs to start talking about EPA reform now”

  1. I’m not counting on significant reform in any event. Romney might surprise for the economy’s sake, but not because he understands the perils of the marriage of junkscience to government. Obama believes the marriage is a feature, not a bug.

  2. Sure, have Mitt Romney stand up in front of the nation saying “Down with the EPA!” (because that’s how it will get spun). Watch how fast President Obama racks up a double-digit lead in the polls, too…

    Not saying you’re wrong, Steve, just that “there are things a man can do, and there are things he cannot.”

    (Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!)

  3. Thanks to Obamandias’ executive fiat, shale gas mining is now to be regulated b no less than 13 federal agencies–the EPA is only one of them. There has been not a peep about this from ORomney here in PA–a state he needs. Nor has there been a single ad about how the price of electricity will “necessarily skyrocket” (utility auction prices for 2015 are 8 to 16 times higher than the current rate) because of the coal plants that will be shuttered. How would you like a monthly bill that’s $367 per megawatt.
    Defund all EPA regulatory enforcement. Then nuke the site from orbit–only way to be sure.

  4. I think Romney will do some reform, but not a lot. And most of that will at least be beneficial as he peels back the onerous regulations of Obama to allow both energy and the economy to grow.

  5. That’s not what I said he should do…. and if you’re saying that EPA can’t be reformed then we should all just memorizing The Little Red Book now — or I suppose you could wait until you’re standing in a bread line.

  6. Steve, I know that’s not what you said he should do. Re-read my comment: I said that’s how any serious statement or attempt on his part to reform the EPA would be portrayed.

    I agree with your criticisms of the EPA, and with the idea that it is one of many dangerous federal bureaucracies that need to be shuttered outright, or failing that, trimmed with a chain-saw. All I’m saying is that the political reality is that Romney cannot, at this stage, be the one to do it.

    I cannot stress this enough: Romney saying anything substantive NOW about the EPA would be the political equivalent of telling Americans during one of the nationally televised debates that he plans to look into a ban on most abortions: It may be what’s right, it may be what’s real, it may even be practical and match his own personal beliefs. But it will guarantee he is defeated in November, thanks to the resulting media noise and backlash.

  7. I have concerns that no matter who wins this election little will be done to fix the EPA. There is only one way and that is to end its funding. Jay Lehr, who helped create the EPA and helped in writing their first foundational pieces of legislation claims that the EPA needs to be cut by 80% and turn their responsibilities over the various state EPA’s.

    I don’t see that happening by the R’s or the D’s. Recently there were 19 freshmen House Republican’s (presumably they went to Washington to end the spending and regulatory madness) who wrote a letter to the senior Republican House leadership asking them to continue wasting money on wind energy. Oops….did I say wasting? I meant to say funding wind energy. One of them was from the pest control industry; a group that has been abused by the green movement for decades, and here he is supporting one of their expensive failures. This is not a good indicator for what will happen even if Romney wins, especially since no one has a clue as to what he really believes on anything.

  8. Characterizing the Republicans in the House by what
    19 reps (allegedly) did is silly. There are 242 of them.

    I agree that Romney is not going to be the driver, but I believe the Republican House will drive the agenda to rein in the EPA.

  9. Reforms can be made.

    1: Don’t create flare steam “guidelines” and then enforce them with the rule of law POST-HOC saying that you should have known that too much steam reduces flare destruction.
    2: Don’t take design criteria and enforce them as operating requirements ie: open ended lines. All dead-end valves is VOC service must have a plug, blind, or second valve to ensure it doesn’t leak. This is enforced as a zero-tolerance rule for plugs that forgetful people forget to put back it.
    3: Create water-pollution rules that are not easy to violate by clearing brush by a waterway.

    That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head

  10. The National Environmental Policy Act, which resulted in the formation of the EPA was a Republican project but over the years the democrats have managed to make it a liberal stronghold. While EPA needs to be abolished don’t look for it to happen because it gives politicians control over business and the people. Yeah, congress could defund it but they haven’t defunded any of the Obamacare provisions that have kicked in so why would they defund the EPA?
    The EPA is intellectually and scientifically dishonest. They required MTBE be put in our gasoline when the refiners told them it wouldn’t accomplish their objectives. It took EPA 11 years before the abolished MTBE and replaced it with; you guessed it, ethanol. It is an agency run by lawyers; not scientists. It is an agency that has outlived its usefulness. States can do a better job of protecting the environment because the state agencies know what their issues are. Instead we continue to use a one size fits all agency to solve environmental issues.

  11. If conservatives/libertarians get off their lassiez-fair derrieres and work for it, reform can happen.

    Left to his own devices, Boehner will do nothing. He’s got a million things on his plate and the EPA is not a particular passion of his.

    Anyone who thinks that reform is inevitable because of circumstances and/or logic, they are way wrong.

  12. Agreed that EPA is an agency that has outlived whatever usefulness it may have had (being generous). Disagree that it is run by lawyers. It is an agency run by Marxists. If it was run by lawyers (like the SEC), it would be ineffectually harmless.

  13. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Steve, but do you really believe the Republicans will actually take on the EPA? They go all wobbly when the enviro’s say boo and do their best to remain in as much of the good graces of the enviro lobby as they can. Why else do we have this “all of the above” energy policy bs from them? Why else do we hear them mouthing platitudes about clean coal technology? They are scared silly of the enviro’s and the press.
    30 years ago along with a promotion to technical manager of a chemical plant I got the honor of being the environmental program. That’s morphed into a full time job over a a number of different industries and states. For 30 years I’ve had to take bullying by regulators, responding to costly and idiotic rules, being targeted by EPA trying to write rules by compliance actions they couldn’t get through rule making. One of the things I’ve noticed is if you have a “conservative” for elected leadership and you express your concerns, you get only slightly fewer platitudes in response than you do from the liberals. That applies now to me writing Cantor, Warner and Webb. I’m a bit skeptical of what Romney will do.

  14. A neighbor! I gave up on Cantor when he voted to penalize the employees of wall street firms shuttering divisions with a 90% income tax.

  15. Yeah, Bob, I think you’re right. Republicans, being pro-business and therefore responsible for smog-belching factories and ‘dark satanic mills’, seem to suffer from ‘environmental guilt’. The Dems/Green Left exploit this mercilessly. ‘Romney will give my baby asthma’ would send a lot of Republicans scurrying like roaches when you turn on the light in the kitchen.

    ‘White guilt’ works the same way. Atonement for owning slaves seems to be an endless process, and probably accounts for quite a few votes for Obama — whites casting their vote to prove to themselves, and others, that they’re not not racist slave-beating opressors.

    There’s a lot of Christian fear out there, too, festering. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Galileo, creationism, mention God and Hollywood will contract a hit on you. You might say, a ‘more civilized’ version of the Islamic fatwa that has $3 million on Salman Rushdie’s head.

    There’s American guilt, too. Look at what we did. First, we colonized. Colonialism has a very bad rep. Then there’s the Indians. Bad as slavery, right? Then there’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    You can see where this is going: Obama is the perfect candidate. Not Republican, not pro-business, not white — and some suspect him of being neither an American (by birth), nor even a Christian. Running against him is a candidate who could easily be an icon for all the guilts, fears and confusions that infest American culture and are perpetuated by the Left. Romney and his party have thus far been careful to avoid those things, and for that reason have stuck all too carefully to the simple message that Romney is “not Obama”.

    I’m sorry, ‘not being Obama’ is not a very inspiring message, and the longer he sticks with that, the weaker he looks. He needs to repeat his message that he “likes to fire people” and will start with the EPA. He needs to confront all those outworn guilts and fears, dismiss them, and show *real* guts. Sure, he’d like to win the election, but *real* guts is when you are *willing to lose* in the course of trying mightily to do what is right and just.

  16. EPA was, in the mid 90s enforcing guidance to States as if it had undergone the rule making process. This is another area that is rich in opportunity for reform. The base of the reform must, I think, be replacement of the religious enviro nuts who populate the EPA with saner employes who do not believe that the ends justify the means. Help in this area could come from new rules that close the revolving doors between EPA and the Environmentalist Industry.

  17. please encourage everyone to watch “SOYLENT GREEN”. I was feeling as tho’ I was the only one who remembered it. It has been many years since it shocked me into reality ,I am now 73,and I can feel the hot breathe of the gov’t on the back of my neck.Back then most thought I was a “nut”/radical. I wonder if they ever think about it now or are they still burying their heads in the sand like so many Dems & Rep.I fear for my country because our young people are taught “ignorance” in school these many years-not encouraged to think and analyze for themselves…..God Bless America-GOD HELP AMERICA.

  18. I doubt that politicians know much about the EPA’s rules and regulations. The EPA and in CA the CARB, operate on data that is cooked to achieve the desired result. In CA. the CARB instituted new regulations on Diesel trucks based on data that was inflated by a factor of 10 by a researcher who got his degree from the internet. A total fraud. When this came to light the CARB went ahead with the rules anyway. Control is the issue here. Collecting money is the desired result not public health. The EPA is trying to justify it’s existence nothing more that saving their jobs.

  19. I saw soylent green when it first came out. I was shocked but it opened my eyes.
    Charleton Heston was one of my favorite actors. God Bless him and America!!

  20. Romney’s position is that he ‘is not Obama’. People were easily convinced of this, so he’s staying on-message.

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