EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is shaking things up at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And in a good way! During the Obama years, the EPA was used to pursue radical environmental policies that could not pass Congress, even when the Democrats controlled the House and had a mega-majority in the Senate.
The EPA became synonymous with constitutional end runs, legal chicanery, and subterfuge. EPA’s solutions were reflexively federal government centric, and were increasingly designed to achieve political outcomes rather than desirable environmental results. Pruitt is simply saying enough is enough.
That’s good news for those who want a clean environment, hope to have a strong economy, and who believe that state agencies are often more responsive than federal bureaucracies.
Here are a few examples of Pruitt’s reforms.
Pruitt has reformed how the EPA’s advisory boards are constituted. It used to be that if you received lots of money from the federal government, you had a leg up to serve on its advisory boards too. Can you say conflict of interest? If the very people who receive billions in federal research grants are the ones giving advice as to what research should be funded, what sort of advice will you receive? Pruitt has also tried to make the advisory panels more representative of America.
It used to be common practice for left wing groups to sue the EPA demanding an outcome that had been rejected by Congress or that was not legal through the administrative process. Then the EPA with a wink and a nod would agree to settle the lawsuit and thereby increase its regulatory power without Congress’ involvement. These were essentially sham lawsuits designed to by-pass our constitutional system of checks and balances. Pruitt has done away corrupt and illegal chicanery.
Pruitt is also requiring that the EPA ask questions and test theories — rather than simply accepting dogmas. For example, the EPA is now willing to probe accepted dogmas that the global climate is changing well beyond historic norms and that humans are responsible for those changes. In the past, the EPA has also asserted that radical regulations costing trillions is necessary. However, this is not actually a scientific question. Yet, the mainstream media and pseudo-scientists often pretend that it is and criticize anyone who asks questions.
That the EPA is willing to challenge past assumptions and test theories seems to anger the Left, but the truth is — science is about testing and challenging assumptions and hypotheses. If you can’t do that, you’re not doing science. Additionally, government has been pumping billions into global warming grants for decades. Is anyone really surprised that there are scientists who agree with the government’s hypothesis?
Administrator Pruitt is not anti-warming, he is pro-science. He wants science to be serious — asking probing questions, challenging hypothesizes, and not being corrupted by government grants or pressure.
Pruitt wants to return the EPA to its historical role and its legal mandate of cleaning up the environment. The West Lake Landfill is a prime example of how Pruitt’s leadership and reform of the EPA will pay practical environmental dividends.
Prior to Pruitt’s tenure at EPA, the West Lake Landfill was a Superfund clean up site that was studied for more than 26 years. But nothing was ever done. Understandably, locals were upset by the inaction. During the waning years of the Obama administration, locals sought to escape the EPA’s inaction and finally clean up the landfill.
When Mr. Pruitt came to town, he committed to begin remediation of the landfill immediately using a respected plan developed prior to his arrival — but never carried out because the EPA was too busy chasing political objectives rather than clean ups. But now some voices who accepted this solution during the Obama years, but merely hoped to hurry its implementation, now act as if the EPA’s plan isn’t good enough.
Now they seek new legislation. Interestingly, the new solution will include more years of study and waiting, will increase environmental risks, and will cost the taxpayers close to $600 million.
Local unions would be the primary beneficiary of this plan which helps explain why it gained some local support. But it is a bad idea to create special legislation to clean up a landfill when we’ve had legislation on the books for that exact purpose for more than 40 years. The problem was the EPA was too busy playing politics to do its job. But that is now changing, thanks to Administrator Pruitt who is turning the rogue agency around.
The truth is everyone wants clean air, water and soil. Pruitt wants to take the raw politics out of environmental protection and focus the EPA on responsibly cleaning up the environmental. That is reform all Americans should applaud.
George Landrith is the President and CEO of Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank devoted to promoting a strong national defense, free markets, individual liberty, and constitutionally limited government. To learn more about Frontiers of Freedom, visit www.ff.org. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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