03.06.2013 1

The EPA’s McCarthyism

By Bill Wilson Barack Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to replace Lisa Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And unless Senate Republicans mount a filibuster, she will undoubtedly be confirmed.

McCarthy is really not an exceptional nominee. Not very different from prior EPA nominees. We have little doubt she or any other Obama nominee will continue issuing job-killing regulations and hampering the fragile U.S. economy in the name of religion of radical environmentalism.

The question therefore arises why she ought to be  rejected. A senator might, for example, hone in on several instances of gross mismanagement that smacks of raw incompetence that call into question her qualifications.

One might take a look at the Office of Air and Radiation she heads, which has faced criticism. The EPA Inspector General recently issued a report revealing that at the time of the Fukushima disaster many of the Agency’s radiation monitors were out of service or so poorly maintained that they failed to work with 20 percent completely out of service.

The report goes on to report, “In addition, six of the RadNet monitors we sampled (50 percent) had gone over eight weeks without a filter change.”  EPA policy calls on operators to change the filters twice per week.

McCarthy has also approved of the use of DuPont’s R1234ef air conditioning refrigerant in U.S. vehicles, ignoring a massive European recall by Daimler Benz when the product caught fire in crash testing scenarios. McCarthy has completely turned a blind eye to the health and safety hazards that she is creating through EPA incentives for car companies to use this deadly refrigerant.

In short, McCarthy has been embroiled in scandal after scandal which can only indicate either pure managerial incompetence or a complicity in the failure to perform her most basic duties.

But even worse, if there ever was an agency that needed to be reined in, it was the EPA.  The problem with the agency is not that it lacks staffing, but that it is out of control.

The nomination comes at a time when the EPA is operating as a rogue agency, regulating carbon emissions and stormwater as harmful pollutants without any guidance in the law. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide. It does not even mention carbon dioxide, and yet the EPA has seen fit to restrict it, leaning on the errant 2007 Supreme Court ruling Massachusetts v. EPA that allowed it.

The carbon endangerment finding provides the basis for the agency to arbitrarily dictate fuel efficiency standards, power plant emissions, or even which fuels may be burnt. It gives the EPA virtually limitless powers to restrict the economy from growing.

Same with the Clean Water Act, which deals with pollutants in water, not water itself. Yet it has issued regulations on the amounts of stormwater allowable in waterways. These regulations threaten to cost local municipalities millions of dollars of additional costs.

It is also engaged in a sue-and-settle racket with radical environmentalist groups to expand its powers via judicial assent. And its regulations threaten America’s future ability to develop and utilize natural resources, to grow the economy, and to create jobs.

In addition, during Lisa Jackson’s tenure, she used several private email accounts to conduct official business, and the agency dragged its heels in revealing the contents of those emails in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. To the extent the agency has responded it has redacted much of the material from the emails, which may have been used to communicate to outside environmentalist groups advocating policy.

This is an agency completely unaccountable for its actions. Not to the people. Not to Congress. And not to the law.

Given Obama’s State of the Union threat to continue to pursue unilateral executive actions in lieu of climate change legislation, no nominee to the EPA should be confirmed.

Rather, bureaucrats there should have to answer for the destruction they are wreaking on the U.S. economy. Unless and until these harmful regulations are rescinded and the sue and settle racket is torn apart, the agency should be defunded, the bureaucrats that work there furloughed, and the offices they work in sold to pay down the deficit.

How will McCarthy, or any other nominee to head this agency, deal with these problem when the fundamental problem is that this agency is simply too powerful and unaccountable?

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Bill on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG.

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