EPA up to the same old tricks

The HillA coalition of green groups has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new smog rules.

The legal challenge, filed by the Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Appalachian Mountain Club and the National Parks Conservation Association, argues that the EPA’s surface-level ozone standard of 70 parts per billion is too weak to protect public health.

Here's how the trick works.

First, the EPA decides it wants to regulate something new, or tighten regulations on something it already regulates.

They pay a bunch of university scientists with similar political leanings to do studies on that topic, and since the scientists agree with the EPA politically and understand how the game is played, the results support whatever the EPA is trying to regulate.

The EPA then issues new regulations and shepherds them through the public comment process by publishing propaganda on social media sites urging environmentalists to post favorable comments on their proposed regulation. These regulations are carefully calculated to get the camel's nose under the tent without invoking the obvious risks of actually bringing the whole camel into the tent.

The anti-industrial Luddite lobbying groups that claim to be environmentalists then initiate a lawsuit against the EPA, claiming that the new regulations are not strong enough. They cite the same scientific studies that the EPA originally funded.

The EPA then settles the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement require the EPA to issue tighter regulations that are difficult (being the result of a legal settlement rather than the normal process) to reverse. The EPA chooses to settle rather than fight because the EPA wanted the tighter regulations all along; it just wanted them in a way that would fly under the radar and make it difficult for Congress and the President to change (should either entity actually want to). The terms of the settlement also require the EPA to pay the legal fees of the Luddites, meaning the cost to the environmental pressure group is basically nothing. They can probably fundraise on the basis of the lawsuit, too.

The result: absurdly tight environmental standards based on junk science and environmental special interests without the involvement of the public, the Congress, or the President. Because Congress did not need to pass a law and the President did not need to sign the law, both are politically insulated from the consequences. Because the appropriate political process for changing the law was not followed, the public was not involved in the debate and is likely not even aware -- unless they follow the news closely as I do -- that the rules are being changed.

That's not how our constitutional republic is supposed to work.

This entry was published Tue Dec 29 09:50:53 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-12-29 09:50:53.0. [Tweet]

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