EPA’s Hiring Binge Shows Why It Should Be Cut

epa bldgAs businesses struggle to stay open and lay off workers, the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing one of the biggest hiring binges in America outside of Google. Good news? Hardly.

Barack Obama’s EPA has announced it will try to hire 800 new regulators over the next several months. The goal, reports the newsletter Energy & Environment, is for the EPA to “add eight new hires a day for three months.” It just goes to show there’s no jobs recession in Washington, D.C.

The EPA says this new hiring is in part to make up for early retirements and normal attrition. The EPA’s human resources chief, Karl Brooks, said that “the agency hasn’t been in this position to bring so many people on board in well over a decade.”

Nearly 15,000 people work at the EPA now — making the agency a major national employer. This also lets its tentacles grow even more intrusive.

Big government advocates like to argue that there is a multiplier effect from government spending and hiring that can lead to two to three private-sector jobs for every federal employee. This was the justification for the $830 billion stimulus plan that Obama signed into law within weeks of becoming president.

Instead, the unemployment rate was higher than it would have been if we hadn’t spent the money at all.

Adding more hyper-regulators at the EPA is almost certainly a job killer in the private sector.

“Let’s just say that the prevailing priority at EPA is to find ways to slow or shut down factories, not help open them,” says Myron Ebell, a scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “The rules on carbon emissions, methane, coal plants and others have cost the economy tens of thousands of jobs.”

A new Heritage Foundation study, “Red Ink Rising,” finds that the total — and mostly hidden — cost of regulation now exceeds $2 trillion a year.

The EPA should be shrinking, as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has argued. Turn these regulatory and enforcement responsibilities back to the states.

“Most of the big national environmental problems have been solved,” notes Ebell. “The remaining pollution problems are local. Therefore, these (national) laws should be repealed and responsibility should be given to the states. EPA would thus become a small agency with very limited jurisdiction.”

We can only hope.