An end to the massive EPA slush fund?

There’s more than one way to drain the swamp and a tempting idea is to drain portions of it of cash. When it comes to the increasingly laughably named Environmental Protection Agency, opportunities abound. Thanks to some of the crippling regulations imposed on various industries by the agency, they developed a system where they could force payments out of companies found to not be in compliance, redirecting those fund to pet projects which were never approved by Congress. (And in some cases, actively opposed by the legislature.) This week, a new report is calling for an end to this practice and a return of control of the public purse to the House of Representatives where it belongs. (Daily Caller)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a practice in recent years that allows the agency to “create its own de facto power of the purse,” according to a report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released Tuesday.

The EPA and Department of Justice (DOJ) force private companies and individuals to fund policies and initiatives that the agencies and president support but that Congress has not weighed-in on, or may even have voted against in the past. Enforcing the Clean Air Act, the agencies are able to level “mitigation” penalties and dictate how an entity must compensate society for breaking federal law.

CEI senior fellow and the report’s author William Yeatman is urging President Donald Trump and his administration to stop the practice.

We’re not just talking about pocket change here. The report indicates that in the past ten years the EPA has channeled more than $1.5B dollars (that’s “billion” with a “B”) from private companies under the auspices of the Clean Air Act. That money has flown into pet projects promoting “green energy” technology which in many cases were never approved by Congress.

This gave the EPA a tremendous amount of power and fiscal leverage which it was never intended to have. The EPA went crazy with the applications of fines and penalties during the Obama administration and that needs to be toned down to reasonable levels immediately. But beyond that, as CEI points out, the money which is collected should be under the control of Congress. Rather than allowing one cabinet level agency to direct the ebb and flow of those funds, they should be going into the general fund and appropriated by the House through the regular order of business.

This sounds like exactly the sort of thing that Scott Pruitt and President Trump would be onboard for. And it also sounds like something that could be put into action without a lot of fuss and muss.

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