Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Great Plan to Replace the EPA


By Alan Caruba
For years now I have been saying that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be eliminated and its powers given to the fifty states, all of which,have their own departments of environmental protection. Until now, however, there has been no plan put forth to do so.

Dr. Jay Lehr has done just that and his plan no doubt will be sent to the members of Congress and the state governors. Titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency” it should be read by everyone who, like Dr. Lehr, has concluded that the EPA was a good idea when it was introduced in 1971, but has since evolved into a rogue agency threatening the U.S. economy, attacking the fundamental concept of private property, and the lives of all Americans in countless and costly ways.

Dr. Jay Lehr
Dr. Lehr is the Science Director and Senior Fellow of The Heartland Institute, for whom I am a policy advisor. He is a leading authority on groundwater hydrology and the author of more than 500 magazine and journal articles, and 30 books. He has testified before Congress on more than three dozen occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. The Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organizations supported by voluntary contributions.

Ironically, he was among the scientists who called for the creation of the EPA and served on many of the then-new agency’s advisory councils. Over the course of its first ten years, he helped write a significant number of legislative bills to create a safety net for the environment.

As he notes in his plan, “Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has passed that benefited either the environment or society.”

“The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S. President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to ‘skyrocket.’ It is a rogue agency.”

Dr. Lehr says that “Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option.”  He's right.

“I have come to believe that the national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight.”

Looking back over the years, Dr. Lehr notes that “The initial laws I helped write have become increasingly draconian, yet they have not benefited our environment or the health of our citizens. Instead they suppress our economy and the right of our citizens to make an honest living. It seems to me, and to others, that this is actually the intention of those in EPA and in Congress who want to see government power expanded without regard to whether it is needed to protect the environment or public health.”

Eliminating the EPA would provide a major savings by eliminating 80% of its budget. The remaining 20% could be used to run its research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. “The Committee would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval.”

Dr. Lehr estimates the EPA’s federal budget would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300 and that staff would serve in a new national EPA headquarters he recommends be “located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states.” The staff would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states.”

“Most states,” says Dr. Lehr, “will enthusiastically embrace this plan, as their opposition to EPA’s ‘regulatory train wreck’ grows and since it gives them the autonomy and authority they were promised when EPA was first created and the funding to carry it out.”

The EPA was a good idea when it was created, the nation’s air and water needed to be cleaned, but they have been at this point. Since then, the utterly bogus “global warming”, now called “climate change”, has been used to justify a torrent of EPA regulations. The science the EPA cites as justification is equally tainted and often kept secret from the public.

“It’s time for the national EPA to go,” says Dr. Lehr and I most emphatically agree. “All that is missing is the political will.”

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Idiocy of "Environmental Justice"

By Alan Caruba

A news item in late June caught my eye. It was in the Washington Free Beacon and the headline was “EPA spends $1.6 million on hotel for ‘Environmental Justice’ conference.”

The event will occur in the fall and the location is the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel.

By its own description, it is located “Just one mile from the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, this Arlington hotel features a chic lobby and indoor swimming pool. Rooms come with 37’’ HDTVs and plug-in connectivity panels.” A room for one night will cost approximately $349. The EPA is booking 195 of them for 24 nights!

The environmental movement began as the conservation movement. Its early leaders were concerned about preserving our great forests and other landmarks. President Teddy Roosevelt was enthusiastic about that and used his powers to initiate national parks and reserves. These days, however, Clinton and Obama used those same powers to close off access to vast energy reserves.

So what is “environmental justice”?  According to the EPA, it is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” In other words, it is another justification for the EPA’s existence.

But there’s more. “It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.” Aside from the fact that you can attend the next zoning board meeting in your town or city, this is just sheer rubbish.

By what level of insanity can the EPA achieve the “same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards…”? Can it protect Midwesterners from tornadoes? The Gulf and East Coasts from hurricanes? What is its policy regarding blizzards in the winter or droughts in the summer?

None of this has anything to do with “justice.”

How does the EPA propose to ensure that “everyone enjoys the same degree of protection”? Answer: It cannot. So, instead, it devotes its time to punishing a landowner who gets local permission to build a pond on his farm, but who did not also check in with the Corps of Engineers.

On July 2, the EPA put a notice in the Federal Register asserting the right to “garnish non-federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts own the United States without first obtaining a court order.” ( Emphasis added) That is a definition of tyranny and lawlessness that defies the protections afforded by the Constitution.

Along with the global warming hoax, the term “environmental justice” comes out of the early 1980s where the liberal loonies saw it as a new social movement to ensure, according to Wikipedia, “the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens.”

As John F. Kennedy famously said, “Life is not fair.” Everyone’s life depends in part on the cold reality of numerous factors over which they had or have no control, and choices they made regarding their lives.

Some might think that EPA’s spending $1.6 million on luxurious hotel rooms where their “Environmental Justice” conference is held is “unfair”, especially if the cost of attending is being picked up by the taxpayers.

Again, Wikipedia: “Environmental justice advocates frequently make the argument that minority populations disproportionally undertake or are subjected to environmentally hazardous activities because they have few economic alternatives and/or are not fully away of the risks involved.”

The Green ideology of environmentalists blinds them to reality and the reality is that we are all born into different levels of wealth, different lifestyles, and different challenges, but we are all born in a nation where studying hard in school, hard work and a positive outlook can help us achieve as much as we aspire to. America is the home of millions of success stories.

The environment has nothing to do with social issues of poverty, race, or sex with which Greens want to associate it.

Joseph Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, opened its ninth International Conference on Climate Change earlier this week by noting that “In Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. federal government spent $22.5 billion on ‘global warming.’ It spent $200 billion over the past twenty years. By one estimate the world is spending $1 billion a DAY on projects that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for global warming alarmism.”

When one contemplates how such an exorbitant expenditure could have funded the building and repair of U.S. highways and bridges, how it could help equip our nation’s military, or how it could help provide housing for the poor, the global warming/climate change agenda of the EPA and other U.S. agencies is an obscenity.

The EPA should be eliminated and its functions returned to the individual states, all of which have their own departments of environmental protection. At the very least, we would save billions.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Sunday, July 6, 2014

International Climate Skeptics Gather in Las Vegas



By Alan Caruba

From July 7 to 9, the ninth International Conference on Climate Change will convene in Las Vegas in a dramatic demonstration that “global warming” was a huge hoax and the claims that “climate change” is responsible for everything are a continuation of that fraud.

As a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free market think tank, I attended its first climate change conference held in New York in 2009 to dispute the “science” advancing global warming.  I have been writing about the hoax that gained momentum since James Edward Hansen testified before congressional committees in 1988. From 1981 to 2013 Hansen had been the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Along with other government agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA has been producing data that routinely tampers with climate statistics to maintain the hoax that gained an international platform with the creation of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1998.

In June a Pew Research Center poll announced that 35% of Americans say there is not enough solid evidence to suggest mankind is warming the Earth while another 18% says the world has warmed due to “natural patterns” and not human activity. That’s a total of 53% who disagree with the lies about climate change being told by President Obama and a host of politicians and scientists who have received millions to maintain the hoax. The poll also noted that 40% of Americans still believe that mankind is causing the planet to warm. They likely represent the cohort that has graduated from American schools whose curriculum has taught the Al Gore version of science.

Among the participants in Heartland’s 9th conference are Habibulio Abdussamatov, a Russian astrophysicist; Sonya Boehmer-Christiansen, a research analyst from Great Britain; Fred Goldberg, an associated professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden; Madhav Khandekar, a research analyst from Environment Canada; William Kinimonth who worked with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for 38 years; and Lord Christopher Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, a chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute. They will be joined by American scientists, longtime skeptics of the hoax, often called “deniers” by those advocating it.

It is doubtful that the U.S. media will give much, if any, news coverage of the conference, but the eight previous conferences have done much to debunk and dispel the deluge of lies about the Earth’s climate.
 
Leading Heartland has been its president, Joseph Bast, who asks “How can there be a ‘scientific consensus’ on the causes or consequences of climate change when thousands of scientists, economists, and policy experts attend conferences devoted to expressing the opposite theme, that the science is still unsettled and climate change is not a crisis?” In May Bast was joined by research scientist, Roy Spencer, in a Wall Street Journal commentary that debunked the lie that 97% of scientists support climate change, noting that “surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus.”

Heartland has been a sponsor of the Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, a rival to the UN’s IPCC that continues to issue reports filled with claims of climate-related threats to mankind. The Obama administration recently released its National Climate Assessment echoing the IPCC claims, blaming all climate events on humankind. Common sense tells us that that events like Hurricane Arthur are natural and reflect the 4.5 billion year old Earth’s ongoing and ever-changing climate cycles.

Indeed, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for seventeen years, something the climate change advocates are calling “a pause” in their global warming claims. Unknown to most Americans is that the Earth is at the end of its 11,500 year old interglacial cycle, suggesting that we are all in for a new ice age.

The global warming/climate change hoax is rooted in the claim that “greenhouse gases”, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) has caused the warming that is not occurring. Ironically, CO2 continues to accelerate in the atmosphere and, rather than a cause for concern, represent very good news for every piece of vegetation from crops to forests as it is as vital to their existence as oxygen is for humans and all other animals. The Earth has had periods when its presence was much higher.

The conference expects to draw several hundred attendees this year, but those who want to follow its panels, lectures, and discussions can do so via the Heartland website that will live-stream them. It can be followed as well via Twitter @HeartlandInst and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Heartland using the hashtag #ICCC9. Heartland will post the sessions on its YouTube page after the conference ends.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to the skeptics who have courageously disputed the global warming/climate change hoax and to The Heartland Institute that has provided a platform for them to gather to continue their efforts to educate a public that has been deluged by a massive deception.

© Alan Caruba, 2014