American Elephants

How Do You Solve a Problem Like the EPA? Here’s a Solution! by The Elephant's Child

The economy is still in the doldrums and unemployment remains at a troubling 8.9 percent, gas prices are high and creeping higher, consumer confidence is falling and nothing is expected to improve anytime soon.  This would seem to be the ideal time to reduce rules and regulations on the economy that might threaten growth and new jobs.  Not this administration.  They simply do not seem to understand the connection.

So, naturally, this is the time that the Environmental Protection Agency has chosen to increase their regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.  Like all EPA rules, the new regulations will adversely affect traditional power plants and prop up administration-favored renewable energy.

According to the EPA we will all be able to breathe easier, while up to 17,000 premature deaths per year will be prevented.  This is absolute nonsense. “Reducing toxic power-plant emissions will cut fine-particle pollution and prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of heart attacks, bronchitis cases and asthma attacks.  The EPA estimates the value of the improvements to health alone would total $59 billion to $140 billion in 2016.  This means that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, we get $5 to $13 in health benefits.”

When economist Christina Romer went back to Berkeley, she must have left her computer programs that came  up with “numbers of jobs created and saved” to the EPA, where they are coming up with all sorts of mythical deaths prevented.  I have never seen a single article that points out an epidemic of people dying from fine-particle pollution.

The EPA says the annual cost to meet the new regulation will be about $11 billion in 2016, and it will only increase customers electric bills by three or four dollars a month. Only.

The American Council for Capital Formation puts the cost of the EPA’s rules at 46,000 to 1.4 million lost jobs and $25 billion to $75 billion in lost capital investment by 2014, along with a $500 billion reduction in GDP, while boosting gasoline and electricity costs by 50%.

Sen. Max Baucus has introduced a bill to exempt agricultural sources from the rules, which should take care of EPA’s push to regulate farm dust.  Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amendment would strip the EPA of authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  His amendment has a chance of passing the Senate,  but it probably does not have enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Our commenter Rachel Jimenez suggested that the EPA should be defunded and sent to China. That sounded like such a good idea that I went to the EPA website to investigate.  The interactive timeline they have of EPA activities certainly shows a big increase in EPA regulation and rules under Administrator Lisa Jackson, which seemed a little odd since reports of the quality of our air and water have been remarkably positive.

In prowling around a little more,  I found that Administrator Lisa Jackson has a staff of 17,000 busy workers. Seventeen thousand!  Some 30 EPA employees shared a Nobel Peace Prize in October, 2007 for their work with the IPCC on global warming. There are 15 Offices under Administrator Jackson, 10 Regional Offices, 7 Research and Development Labs, 3 Air and Radiation Labs, 4 Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Labs.

There is a Chesapeake Bay Program, a Great Lakes Program, A Gulf of Mexico Program.  There are 10 Labs supporting the 10 Regional Offices.  There are 8 Science Advisory Organizations, and a Columbia River Basin Program, a Puget Sound Georgia Basin Program and a U.S. Mexico Border Program to start next year.  That is a very large organization, and impressive.

Most of our nation’s major environmental problems have been solved.  The EPA  in searching for something more to regulate,  is down to very fine particles in the air, unnoticed up to now, and I’m sorry, but I don’t buy all the deaths they are going to prevent.  Sounds like bureaucratic busywork to me, and pretty ephemeral busywork at that.

China, on the other hand, has enormous environmental problems: thick smog, poisonous air, poisoned lakes, you name it. Their problems are so severe that other nations complain that their own good works hardly matter with China belching out huge amounts  of noxious fumes.

China needs the Environmental Protection Agency to solve their enormous environmental problems. The EPA needs a real job to do.

This is what the EPA was designed for: fixing the environment. They’re good at that. They could go on finding ever more microscopic particles to regulate, but it simply costs too much and is too damaging. Sell them to China.

Our economy improves from reduced debt and the absence of the EPA.  The Chinese economy improves from a cleaner environment and healthier workers.  It is a Win—Win solution for both nations.

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