EPA: Fundamental Transformation through Regulation

What happens when the information our government's "specialists" provide becomes driven by agenda rather than fact?  We are witnessing the answer writ large as the feds shepherd radical environmentalism into mainstream law and regulation.

The EPA, finding organized resistance to its regulating machine, has turned to offering "guidance," which it then enforces as if said "guidance" were the product of regulatory channels.  The big difference, of course, is that "guidance" is not subject to the same rigors of accountability and oversight that regulations must meet.  These crone-tended kettles at the EPA are really just an end-run around the law.

A particularly offensive bit of "guidance" is the concept of "navigable waters" as relating to the jurisdictions of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  In the Clean Water Act, and through subsequent court rulings, the word "navigable" has been construed too narrowly for the EPA's liking, so the EPA is working on "guidance" that would redefine "navigable waters" to include any water anywhere, as long as it will eventually reach a navigable waterway or has ever been part of such a waterway.  According to Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), this broad construction of terms would allow the EPA to regulate everything from storm water runoff to the water coming out of the end of your hose on car wash day.

Clearly, the Corps of Engineers has no business concerning itself with following EPA "guidance" over my lawn sprinklers.  But to understand the thinking behind such ridiculous efforts, one must forget about the environment, and water quality, and shift focus to the amassing of raw regulatory power -- power with which the left will continue their regressionist assault on American business and industry.

It's not the agency alone that creates an untenable situation for our economy; it is the toxic combination of far-left environmental groups and overreaching government that causes many industries to lose market share due to dramatically higher costs not borne by overseas competition.  One such left-wing pressure group is the Center for Progressive Reform.  Essentially a group of lawyers and college professors specializing in environmental law, the Center concerns itself with the policy and enforcement mechanisms of government.  In other words, its members are ambulance-chasers who lobby government to create environmental crimes for themselves to litigate.

They have used a grant from the Public Welfare Foundation to create "economic research on the benefits of regulation and analysis of reports about the costs of regulation."  It is important to note that they are to analyze reports about costs.  They don't care about the costs per se.  They want to develop ways to attack the reports about costs, not the costs themselves.  America in the 21st century has professional shills for increasing and propagandizing the regulatory burden on its citizens.  For this, we raised the debt ceiling.

They issued a report this year urging President Obama to hurry along nine regulatory initiatives that they fear will be defeated if reviewed by a Republican administration.  Among these initiatives are the above-referenced expansion of the Clean Water Act.  The other eight are similar in scope and overreach.  At the outset of the Obama administration, the Center drafted a paper outlining seven agenda items which could be accomplished by executive order in the first 100 days.

These proposed "strokes of a president's pen" range from requiring all agencies of government to measure, report, and reduce their carbon footprint to establishing rules of "environmental justice" aimed at creating protected classes of people and areas for the purpose of providing some form of "affirmative" remediation for past environmental injustices.  They also require all agencies of government to adopt an affirmative action regime for implementation of these orders -- i.e., assuming for the government a collective guilt and forcing the convicted departments to keep doing good works until the self-appointed monitors declare equity achieved.

All this naturally brings us back to the ambulance-chasing nature of the Center for Progressive Reform and organizations like it.  They are part of the industry of the professionally aggrieved, and it is up to the citizens of this nation to refuse to heed their perennial demands for tribute. 

The left is funded to a great extent by our own government, misusing tax revenues to feed their environmentalist protection racket.  This must cease immediately.  The rule of experts is no more legitimate than the rule of thugs.

Consider this next election as an opportunity to disinfect the foundation of our Republic.  The nation we love is being hollowed out by an enemy within, through unrelenting pressure and deception.  The EPA isn't about environmental protection, and the Center for Progressive Reform isn't about progress or reform.  They are both about power and control.  In November 2012, we have what may well be our last opportunity to deny them their aim -- an America "fundamentally transformed."

The author writes from Omaha, NE and encourages readers to comment at his website, www.readmorejoe.com.

What happens when the information our government's "specialists" provide becomes driven by agenda rather than fact?  We are witnessing the answer writ large as the feds shepherd radical environmentalism into mainstream law and regulation.

The EPA, finding organized resistance to its regulating machine, has turned to offering "guidance," which it then enforces as if said "guidance" were the product of regulatory channels.  The big difference, of course, is that "guidance" is not subject to the same rigors of accountability and oversight that regulations must meet.  These crone-tended kettles at the EPA are really just an end-run around the law.

A particularly offensive bit of "guidance" is the concept of "navigable waters" as relating to the jurisdictions of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  In the Clean Water Act, and through subsequent court rulings, the word "navigable" has been construed too narrowly for the EPA's liking, so the EPA is working on "guidance" that would redefine "navigable waters" to include any water anywhere, as long as it will eventually reach a navigable waterway or has ever been part of such a waterway.  According to Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), this broad construction of terms would allow the EPA to regulate everything from storm water runoff to the water coming out of the end of your hose on car wash day.

Clearly, the Corps of Engineers has no business concerning itself with following EPA "guidance" over my lawn sprinklers.  But to understand the thinking behind such ridiculous efforts, one must forget about the environment, and water quality, and shift focus to the amassing of raw regulatory power -- power with which the left will continue their regressionist assault on American business and industry.

It's not the agency alone that creates an untenable situation for our economy; it is the toxic combination of far-left environmental groups and overreaching government that causes many industries to lose market share due to dramatically higher costs not borne by overseas competition.  One such left-wing pressure group is the Center for Progressive Reform.  Essentially a group of lawyers and college professors specializing in environmental law, the Center concerns itself with the policy and enforcement mechanisms of government.  In other words, its members are ambulance-chasers who lobby government to create environmental crimes for themselves to litigate.

They have used a grant from the Public Welfare Foundation to create "economic research on the benefits of regulation and analysis of reports about the costs of regulation."  It is important to note that they are to analyze reports about costs.  They don't care about the costs per se.  They want to develop ways to attack the reports about costs, not the costs themselves.  America in the 21st century has professional shills for increasing and propagandizing the regulatory burden on its citizens.  For this, we raised the debt ceiling.

They issued a report this year urging President Obama to hurry along nine regulatory initiatives that they fear will be defeated if reviewed by a Republican administration.  Among these initiatives are the above-referenced expansion of the Clean Water Act.  The other eight are similar in scope and overreach.  At the outset of the Obama administration, the Center drafted a paper outlining seven agenda items which could be accomplished by executive order in the first 100 days.

These proposed "strokes of a president's pen" range from requiring all agencies of government to measure, report, and reduce their carbon footprint to establishing rules of "environmental justice" aimed at creating protected classes of people and areas for the purpose of providing some form of "affirmative" remediation for past environmental injustices.  They also require all agencies of government to adopt an affirmative action regime for implementation of these orders -- i.e., assuming for the government a collective guilt and forcing the convicted departments to keep doing good works until the self-appointed monitors declare equity achieved.

All this naturally brings us back to the ambulance-chasing nature of the Center for Progressive Reform and organizations like it.  They are part of the industry of the professionally aggrieved, and it is up to the citizens of this nation to refuse to heed their perennial demands for tribute. 

The left is funded to a great extent by our own government, misusing tax revenues to feed their environmentalist protection racket.  This must cease immediately.  The rule of experts is no more legitimate than the rule of thugs.

Consider this next election as an opportunity to disinfect the foundation of our Republic.  The nation we love is being hollowed out by an enemy within, through unrelenting pressure and deception.  The EPA isn't about environmental protection, and the Center for Progressive Reform isn't about progress or reform.  They are both about power and control.  In November 2012, we have what may well be our last opportunity to deny them their aim -- an America "fundamentally transformed."

The author writes from Omaha, NE and encourages readers to comment at his website, www.readmorejoe.com.