John Stossel: It’s time to stick a fork in the EPA

‘The EPA was needed in 1970 and its regulations worked. In a rational world, the EPA would be done, but bureaucracies never say they’re done.’

“Trump may have just signed a death warrant for our planet!” warns CNN host Van Jones.

“Disaster for Clean Water, Air,” says the Environmental Working Group.

Give me a break.

Regulation zealots and much of the media are furious because President Donald Trump canceled Barack Obama’s attempt to limit carbon dioxide emissions. But Trump did the right thing.

CO2 is what we exhale. It’s not a pollutant. It is, however, a greenhouse gas, and such gases increase global warming. It’s possible that this will lead to a spiral of climate change that will destroy much of Earth!

But probably not. The science is definitely not settled.

Either way, Obama’s expensive regulation wouldn’t make a discernible difference. By 2030 — if it met its goal — it might cut global carbon emissions by 1 percent.

The Earth will not notice.

However, people who pay for heat and electricity would notice. The Obama rule demanded power plants emit less CO2. Everyone would pay more — for no useful reason.

I say “would” because the Supreme Court put a “stay” on the regulation, saying there may be no authority for it.

So Trump proposes a sensible cut: He’ll dump an Obama proposal that was already dumped by courts. He’d also reduce Environmental Protection Agency spending by 31 percent.

Good!

Some of what regulators do now resembles the work of sadists who like crushing people. In Idaho, Jack and Jill Barron tried to build a house on their own property. Jack got permission from his county. So they started building.

They got as far as the foundation when the EPA suddenly declared that the Barrons’ property was a “wetland.”

Some of their land was wet. But that was only because state government had not maintained its own land, adjacent to the Barrons’ property, and water backed up from the state’s land to the Barrons’.

The EPA suddenly said, “You are building on a wetland!” and filed criminal charges against them. Felonies. When government does that, most of us cringe and give up. It costs too much to fight the state. Government regulators seem to have unlimited time and nearly unlimited money.

But Jack was mad enough to fight. He spent $200,000 on his own lawyers.

Three years later, a jury cleared Jack of all charges.

But even that didn’t stop the EPA.

Jill Barron told me, “We won, but after we were home for a month maybe, the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA sent us another letter saying, ‘how nice for you that you won in the criminal court, but we still feel it’s a wetlands.’ And the decision made by the jury did not matter to them. ‘And if you don’t get off the property, we’re going to fine you (in) civil (court).'”

The EPA threatened a fine of $37,500 a day.

The Barrons sold their home and moved into a trailer.

“We’ll be bankrupt, obviously.” Jill told me, “You have no idea what you’re up against. You don’t know the power that is the EPA.”

So I’m glad that Trump wants to limit the EPA. Scott Pruitt, the agency’s new director, understands that bureaucrats often abuse their power. When he was Oklahoma attorney general, he sued the EPA 13 times for regulatory overreach.

I hope he cuts the bureaucrats back to proper size.

The agency was necessary in 1970, when it was created. At the time, cities dumped whatever we flushed into nearby waterways — with no treatment.

Smokestacks filled the air with actual pollutants: soot, sulfur dioxide, etc. In New York City, we didn’t dare leave windows open because filth would blow in.

The EPA required sewage treatment, scrubbers in smokestacks and catalytic converters in car exhaust systems. The regulations worked. America’s air and water is cleaner than it’s been for decades. I can even swim in the Hudson River, right next to millions of people — who are still flushing.

Now, in a rational world, the EPA would say, “Stick a fork in it, it’s done! EPA now stands for ‘Enough Protection Already.'” But bureaucracies never say they’re done. “Done” means bureaucrats are out of work. Can’t have that.

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Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Are there any bigger race baiting dorks on TV than CNN .
    Climate changes , it’s warming thankfully get over it .
    Plants and animals are better off and that is the true problem
    for pretend greenies that want a way to justify State sanctioned
    population extermination .
    Notice how old the CNN crew is looking as they spend their days trying to take
    President Trump down . Their pony lost and they look liked like arrogant fools .
    Real hard on those puffed up egos . Hang in there CNN only about 1400 sleeps to do it all again . Maybe dust off Bernie . Fall down Hillary should also be good for another go after a 4 years nap .
    You know when a department like the EPA starts building an arsenal they are in serious need of a downsize .

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    There’s more than one faction at work. There’s “activists” , a nice name for sh!t disturbers. Ask North Dakota. Activists showed up and left piles of it. Don’t do anything that might bring them to your state. Activists cross over from cause du jour to cause du jour, keeping each others issue on the fake news front page. By definition, they’re never done.
    Then there’s bureaucratic empire builders. They recommend new laws then hire enthusiastic enviro’s to enforce compliance of those laws. The more employees in your department, the more salary your grows. For every “green” job created, three jobs leave.
    Lawmakers. Their job description says it all. (President Trump has gone easy on them. Kill two old laws before you pass a new one)
    I agree with Stossel, we’ve cleaned up enough. The agitators will never admit that.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Van Jones is a screwball and the Communist News Network(CNN)is owned by Red Ted Turner who used to married to Hanoi Jane he brainwashed kids with garbage like Captian Planet and Network Earth as well as with One Child One Voice all the while he logs his own property and even had a hill bulldized down so he could view a distant moutain range and pays the eco-wackos who call him Daddy Green-bucks

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