“Something Wicked This Way Comes,” and It’s Called EPA

“Something wicked this way comes”, a line delivered by one of the witches in MacBeth, was picked up by fantasy writer Ray Bradbury as the title of his novel about a demonic carnival that appears in a Midwestern town.

A new report by the Minority Staff of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (A Look Ahead to EPA Regulations for 2013) and released by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) describes the demonic carnival that will descend on all of America if the Progressives win this election. It is called the EPA.

For the past year, the agency has delayed action on a slew of regulations that would have serious impact on the economy and employment, concerning carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, ozone standards, hydraulic fracturing for gas and oil production, coverage of the Clean Water Act,water run-off standards for Florida, nationwide stormwater rules, sulfur in gasoline, air pollution standards for boilers and cement plants, coal ash, water cooling, farm dust, and fuel spill measures for farms and ranches.

Once the election is over, the leash will be slipped and EPA will be free to work its will. And this will be to push the agency’s anti-producer, anti-energy agenda to the maximum, in support of a radical environmentalism that long ago crossed from sensible conservation to neo-pagan nature worship.

As Carol Browner, former ringmaster of EPA and until recently the White House czar for energy and climate change, assured environmentalists:

The president . . . has looked at what are the tools available to him to really help build a clean-energy future for this country and has been committed throughout his first four years in office, and there’s no doubt in my mind this will be a big part of his to-do list and he will remain committed in the next four years.

Browner may be eager for the True Greens to understand EPA’s agenda, but the Administration is even more eager to keep the public from knowing about it. Inhofe followed up his report with a public letter to Obama noting that the government is legally required to publish a Regulatory Agenda each April and October in which it describes significant regulations that are in development. No such document has appeared since the Fall of 2011, and Inhofe draws the obvious conclusion: “EPA, in what appears to be a string of politically motivated decisions, has ‘punted’ or put on hold until after the election a number of economically damaging regulations.”

EPA’s actions will do more than sabotage the economy. They will create a crisis of American government. Since the New Deal, regulatory agencies have been given great power, but in return they are expected to exercise that power responsibly and with reasonable restraint, within the confines of their statutory authority and a common sense awareness of important conflicting interests.

Unfortunately, Congress has engaged in overly broad delegations, and the legal system has no mechanism for reining in an agency that is captured by an ideological faction, as the True Greens have taken over EPA. When such a faction is backed by crony capitalists, such as the venture socialists of the green energy industry, who then feed part of their profits back into political support for pliant politicians, the agency becomes totally unchecked.

Most Americans are unaware of the complicated legal and political history that led us to this predicament in which an agency is allowed to run amok. How could they know? —  Citizens are busy with their lives and cannot keep track of the millions of pages of statutes and regulations that now control them, or with the twists of administrative law. They count on the political classes to prevent such nonsense.

But they do know that an agency that has been captured by an extremist movement lacks moral legitimacy, because it is not acting in accord with the fundamental principles of democracy and the consent of the governed. This rising tide of governmental capture by factions will have consequences far beyond the immediate context of environmental overreach.

James V. DeLong is the author of Ending ‘Big SIS’ (The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic. www.specialintereststate.org

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Author: "Ending 'Big SIS' (The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic" (2012) [www.SpecialInterestState.org] and "Property Matters--How Property Rights Are Under Assault and Why You Should Care" (1997). Some former jobs: Assistant Director of Consumer Protection in FTC; member of the Program Analysis Staff of the US Bureau of the Budget; Research Director of the Administrative Conference of the United States; Director of IPCentral at the Progress & Freedom Foundation; VP & GC of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest. Graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, former Book Review Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

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