By Rebekah Rast -
The mission statement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to “protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water and land — upon which life depends.”
Today the EPA does indeed have its opinions on protecting Americans and the environment. More recently it seems the EPA is more concerned with regulations, rules and power than it is about safeguarding our natural resources.
President Richard Nixon formed the EPA in 1970 with the intent that the organization would battle pollutants and research clean and effective ways to protect all components of the environment. President Nixon felt having a separate agency handle these tasks independently, while still seeking the expertise of other government organizations, would provide a safer, more efficient America.
The EPA of today was never the intent of President Nixon.
Taking a glance at the oil-laden Gulf of Mexico proves the point that the EPA is more concerned about enforcing regulations than it is about cleaning up the oil. If it cared anything about the Gulf and those states affected by the spill, it would encourage the Administration to lift the Jones Act and allow the world’s skimmer ships to enter and help clean up the Gulf. President Bush lifted the Act after Hurricane Katrina. Facing a disaster of this magnitude should warrant a similar reaction by Obama. The State Department did finally accept 22 offers from 12 countries and international organization to help with the efforts in the Gulf, without lifting the Act.
However, regulations still persist as the EPA is not allowing these skimmer ships to do their job because they don’t filter out the required 15 parts per million of contaminants.
For not wavering on its regulations, restricting the full potential of skimmer ships, the EPA is in no way protecting our environment. Instead of having a mostly oil-free Gulf, we have an ocean drenched in oil. After 77 days, the oil leak is still spewing about 250,000 barrels per day. Contrary to its initial claims of being able to skim 491,721 barrels of oil per day, BP has only been able to skim an average of less than 900 barrels per day.
An agency established to protect the environment is hurting the economies of the affected states and killing wildlife in the area, all by prolonging the necessary cleanup from this devastating crisis.
The EPA’s stonewalling of cleanup efforts doesn’t stop at skimmer ships. In May, the EPA gave BP 24 hours to find a different chemical dispersant than the one it had already used on 600,000 gallons on the surface and 55,000 underwater to help clean up the oil spill. The dispersants being used, Corexit 9500A and Corexit 9527A, were on the EPA-approved list. As previously reported by Americans for Limited Government (ALG), apparently, these “green” regulators didn’t like BP using a dispersant, approved by their own agency, and demanded they cease and desist and submit an alternative plan.
The list could go on of ridiculous judgment calls by the EPA. Earlier this year EPA officials met with film director James Cameron along with scientists and other experts to discuss the oil spill. James Cameron was invited because of his expertise on underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies after his filming of “Titanic.” The EPA described the meeting as “part of the federal government’s ongoing efforts to hear from stakeholders, scientists and experts from academia, government and the private sector as we continue to respond to the BP oil spill.”
Unless the EPA plans to make a movie of the oil spill, Hollywood should not be consulted. There are many legitimate experts who could have and should have been called upon to assist in the handling of this disaster.
The incompetence and radical environmentalism by the EPA continues outside the Gulf oil spill. The EPA wants to use its endangerment findings, obtained earlier this year, to regulate carbon dioxide — its own version of cap-and-trade. This is a complete breach of power by the EPA according to the language in the Clean Air Act.
As reported by the American Spectator, the EPA changed the way the Clean Air Act applies to carbon dioxide. “The plain language of the Clean Air Act would apply the regulations to anyone who emits more than 250 tons of CO2 in a year. That means fast food franchises, apartment buildings, and hospitals would be subject to regulations aimed at clamping down on pollution from large industrial facilities. Even the EPA recognized the absurdity of this result. It took it upon itself to rewrite the law, saying that what the Clean Air Act meant in this case was 25,000 tons, not 250, and issued what it called a ‘tailoring rule’ to this effect. This represents a significant assault on the principle of separation of powers.”
ALG President Bill Wilson couldn’t agree more. “This is not necessarily an environmental, energy or even a tax issue — it’s a constitutional separation of powers issue,” he says. “Even if a senator believes in the highly controversial dogma that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are harmful, he or she should be gravely concerned at the blatant power grab the EPA has engaged in to declare that those gases are covered under the Clean Air Act.”
With the Senate voting 53 to 47, approving of the EPA’s findings, the agency will continue to work with the Administration to build the framework for cap-and-trade regulation, which will surely implement new and harmful taxes on American businesses.
While the EPA continues to feed its insatiable appetite for power and new regulations, it is killing American jobs in the process. From its neglect in the cleanup efforts of the oil spill devastating the fishing industry in New Orleans, to its fight for a six-month moratorium to be placed on drilling in the Gulf, people are now without jobs and can no longer provide for their families.
Don’t be fooled by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s comments this past Earth Day when she stated, “Despite the overheated rhetoric we often hear today about runaway environmental regulations killing jobs, our history is one of healthier families, cleaner communities — and, yes, job-creating innovation and a stronger America.”
Based on EPA’s actions and inactions of recent time, Jackson is certainly not talking about the America of today.
Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to ALG News Bureau.