How to replace the EPA

Of all the regulatory deadweight on the economy, the Environmental Protection Agency is almost certainly the heaviest of the federal government’s intrusions. If voters should hand control of the White House and Congress to the GOP in 2016, structural reform ought to be the heart of the program to rescue America from the disasters Obama and the Democrats have wrought.  Part of that structural reform should be replacement of the EPA with a more effective and economical institutional arrangement.

The Heartland Institute has put forth a plan to do exactly that:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a rogue agency that has long outlived its effectiveness and should be dismantled and replaced.

In “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency,” a new Policy Brief from The Heartland Institute, Science Director Jay Lehr writes,

It made sense for there to be a single national agency given authority to enforce the nation’s new environmental protection laws in the first decade of the 1970s. But by the end of that decade, the lion’s share of benefits from that noble experiment were already achieved and the states could have been, and should have been, allowed to play their intended role in implementing the new programs.

The study explains why EPA should be replaced and describes the steps needed to replace the agency with a better system.

Instead of attempting to reform EPA, Lehr calls for a “Committee of the Whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies to replace EPA over a five-year period. Lehr writes, “The Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies would meet the needs of the nation more effectively and more efficiently than the national EPA. Fifty state environmental protection agencies with more than 30 years of experience have the talent to do the job without the oversight of 15,000 federal employees.” He notes, “It is, after all, well-known that government close to the location of the governed is best for all.”

Lehr concludes, “Authority [for environmental protection] should have remained in the hands of the states, where innovation would be rewarded and accountability to local voters and taxpayers was more likely to be preserved.”

To read the Policy Brief, click here.