New EPA chief: Can everybody please “stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs?”

posted at 10:21 am on July 31, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

…How ’bout, no? Via the Washington Post:

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency told an audience at Harvard Law School on Tuesday that cutting carbon pollution will “feed the economic agenda of this country” and vowed to work with industry leaders on shaping policies aimed at curbing global warming.

“Climate change will not be resolved overnight,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the 310-member audience. “But it will be engaged over the next three years. That I can promise you.”

McCarthy made a full-throated defense of her agency’s right to address greenhouse-gas emissions and other pollutants, saying that air-quality regulations and environmental cleanup efforts have already produced economic benefits in the United States.

“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs, please?” she asked, prompting loud applause. “We need to embrace cutting-edge technology as a way to spark business innovation.” …

“EPA cannot dictate solutions,” McCarthy said. “We have to engage.”

But that’s just it. The EPA does dictate these so-called solutions, which are not well-thought-out solutions so much as they are the top-down societal engineering of zealous big-government bureaucrats. And heck, I’m not even talking about the bipartisan opposition to the Obama administration’s war on coal (which, by the way, is already resulting in job losses), because that is only the tiniest tip of the iceberg of everything the Environmental Protection Agency does and imposes upon the American people.

For these guys, there is no good environmental problem or dilemma that could possibly deserve a private-sector, private-property, free-market, or local-government solution — the federal government always does it better (which is strange, because the inefficiencies and unintended consequences of big-government oversight apply just as easily to environmental degradation as they do to everything else). They really don’t care about the onerous costs of compliance for businesses and individuals, nor the accompanying transaction costs, nor the overall costs to our economy, because the only costs that matter to them are what they’ve pre-decided are the environmental ones. Regulation is a noble means to their inarguably glorious ends, and the Obama administration has used bizarre rules and tactics to prosecute everyone from major companies to private individuals. What’s more, they’re increasingly getting in the way of state sovereignty, because they know better, of course:

The ALEC report showed that in President Obama’s first term, the number of times the agency has rejected state proposals or taken over state programs has skyrocketed.

“The agency has expanded its own prerogatives, at the expense of the states’ rightful authority,” the report said.

The report looked first at the EPA’s efforts to ensure states comply with the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. During the second term of the George W. Bush administration, the EPA rejected state proposals a total of just 12 times. During the last four years, the Obama EPA rejected those proposals 95 times.

The EPA also initiated a total of 19 state-level takeovers in that time, something the EPA rarely did in the years preceding the Obama administration. …

“Sue and settle allows the EPA to replace input from the states with that from professional environmentalists,” the report said. It found the number of sue-and-settle cases has risen from 15 during the second term of the Clinton administration to 48 in Obama’s first term, producing $13 billion in annual regulatory costs.

And, bizarrely, the EPA is rather loath to reveal the methods behind their madness, too. Go figure:

As the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with some of the most costly regulations in history, there needs to be greater transparency about the claimed benefits from these actions. Unfortunately, President Obama and the EPA have been unwilling to reveal to the American people the data they use to justify their multibillion-dollar regulatory agenda. …

We know this much: Virtually every major EPA air-quality regulation under President Obama has been justified by citing two sets of decades-old data from the Harvard Six Cities Study and the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II. The EPA uses the data to establish an association between fine-particulate emissions and mortality.

For two years, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, of which I am the chairman, has sought to make this information available to the public. But the EPA has obstructed the committee’s request at every step. To date, the committee has sent six letters to the EPA and other top administration officials seeking the data’s release.


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