Monday, December 19, 2011

EPA Grasping for Unlimited Power (Updated)

The Federal government and bureaucracy continues its remorseless acquisition of power, this time (or perhaps I should say, once again) under the auspices of the EPA. It is because Congress is too ready to cede power to a professional bureaucracy and too beholden to lobbyists and large campaign donors, and because the Courts have read too broadly the powers granted to the Federal government in the Constitution, that we find ourselves in this situation. Congress, the President, and the Federal Courts, as a whole, truly believe that there are no limitations on the power and authority of the Federal government. 

From the article:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it analyzes problems and makes decisions, in a way that will give it vastly expanded power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development,” the centerpiece of a global United Nations conference slated for Rio de Janeiro next June.

The major focus of the EPA thinking is a weighty study the agency commissioned last year from the National Academies of Science. Published in August, the study, entitled “Sustainability and the U.S. EPA,” cost nearly $700,000 and involved a team of a dozen outside experts and about half as many National Academies staff.

Its aim: how to integrate sustainability “as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The panel who wrote the study declares part of its job to be “providing guidance to EPA on how it might implement its existing statutory authority to contribute more fully to a more sustainable-development trajectory for the United States.”
Also:
What is “sustainability” in the first place? That is a question the study ducks, noting that it is only advising EPA on how to bring it within the agency’s canon.

The experts take their definition from an Obama Administration executive order of October, 2009, entitled Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. It defines sustainability in sweeping fashion as the ability “to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”

The study specifically notes that “although addressing economic issues is not a core part of EPA’s mission, it is explicitly part of the definition of sustainability.”
The end result?
“EPA needs to formally develop and specify its vision for sustainability,” the study says. “Vision, in the sense discussed here, is a future state that EPA is trying to reach or is trying to help the country or the world to reach.”

The study offers up new tools for EPA to do the job. As opposed to environmental impact assessment, the study encourages the use of “sustainability impact assessment” in the evaluation of the hundreds and thousands of projects that come under EPA scrutiny to see whether they are moving in the proper direction

“Environmental impact assessment tends to focus primarily on the projected environmental effects of a particular action and alternatives to that action,” the study says. Sustainability impact assessment examines “the probable effects of a particular project or proposal on the social, environmental, and economic pillars of sustainability”—a greatly expanded approach.

One outcome: “The culture change being proposed here will require EPA to conduct an expanding number of assessments.”

As a result, “The agency can become more anticipatory, making greater use of new science and of forecasting.”

The catch, the study recognizes, is that under the new approach the EPA becomes more involved than ever in predicting the future.

“Forecasting is unavoidable when dealing with sustainability, but our ability to do forecasting is limited,” the document says.

One forecast it is safe to make: the study shows whatever else the new sustainability mission does for EPA, it aims to be a much, much more important—and powerful-- federal agency than it is, even now.
(Underline added). In other words, the EPA plans on becoming a super-governmental agency, not only concerned with environmental impact in the U.S., but world-wide; poking its head into every economic matter imaginable. But don't worry, like "Big Brother" in 1984, it will only use its power to help us.

Update: This is a good example of how the EPA is hurting our country. Closing down power plants that provide power to 22 million homes.

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