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#1
Old 01-28-2017, 01:40 PM
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What's wrong with the EPA?

It would be hard not to notice the right's disdain for the EPA and I want to know why. Is there any logical, factual evidence that the EPA is corrupt or not making policies based on evidence?

Of all of Trump's EOs, the one forcing political filtering of EPA (et al) findings is the most disturbing. I'd like to think I'm just unaware of all of the terrible things the EPA is doing and maybe this is a good thing, but I just can't connect the dots.

I seriously doubt the free market can address the types of problems the EPA studies due to the tragedy of the commons theory, so I believe the function of the EPA is an essential part of our gov't. It infuriates me when my conservative co-workers say that we should shut the EPA down... like somehow they are going to benefit from that. It's insane. Look at industrial countries without environmental regulations, do they really envy that? Do they really want to be like China or India? At least China is now paying lip service to the environment, not poo-pooing it in the name of cheaper goods. It's hard to get regulations in place and enforced, but really quick and easy to get rid of them. It's hard to build something but easy to destroy it, and I fear that even if the left gets back into power that we'll get back to where we are now, and that's scary.
#2
Old 01-28-2017, 01:45 PM
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The GOP thinks the EPA is blowing smoke.


It comes down to two words: Business profits.
#3
Old 01-28-2017, 01:49 PM
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1.) They believe that anything that can make a profit/provide jobs is a good thing

2.) They believe that the Earth was built by God specifically for the use of humans, and the rapture is coming soon anyway.
#4
Old 01-28-2017, 01:50 PM
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The GOP is traditionally the party of business. The defender of corporations against government regulation. One of the primary functions of the EPA traditionally has been to attempt to determine acceptable levels of pollution, waste, and environmental impact that certain businesses generate, and to decide how financially responsible those businesses are for any damage that they do. These regulations can be expensive and time consuming for these corporations to comply with.

So in a TL/DR nutshell, Conservatives (in a general sense) have traditionally been champions of capitalism and corporatism over environmental concerns. They often equate the EPA with a tree-hugging, liberal sort of ideal which stands in the way of economic expansion. To be fair, it can be at times.

Last edited by Manhole Eunuchsbane; 01-28-2017 at 01:51 PM.
#5
Old 01-28-2017, 01:52 PM
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The EPA puts regulations on industry, which costs them money. Republicans represent industry and are greedy assholes.
#6
Old 01-28-2017, 01:53 PM
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Before going forward in assuming that the current Republican party is normal, we should check on the Republicans that did manage it early:

http://origin-nyi.thehill.com/policy...gainst-attacks
Quote:
Two former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators who served under Republican presidents are decrying efforts in Congress to limit the agency’s authority.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post published online late Thursday, William Ruckelshaus and Christine Todd Whitman said the EPA is “under siege.”

“Today the agency President Richard Nixon created in response to the public outcry over visible air pollution and flammable rivers is under siege,” said Ruckelshaus, who served as EPA administrator under Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and Whitman, who headed the agency under President George W. Bush.

Ruckelshaus and Whitman argue the EPA should be protected from efforts in Congress to eliminate its regulatory authority and slash its budget. And they say the agency has significantly improved public health and the environment.

“Amid the virulent attacks on the EPA driven by concern about overregulation, it is easy to forget how far we have come in the past 40 years,” they say. “We should take heart from all this progress and not, as some in Congress have suggested, seek to tear down the agency that the president and Congress created to protect America’s health and environment.”

At the same time, Ruckelshaus and Whitman bash calls to abolish or slash the EPA budget.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 01-28-2017 at 01:53 PM.
#7
Old 01-28-2017, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
Before going forward in assuming that the current Republican party is normal, we should check on the Republicans that did manage it early:

http://origin-nyi.thehill.com/policy...gainst-attacks

That's a really good point. The tact that the Trump administration has taken towards the EPA is a magnitude of order more hostile than any other Republican administration has been up to this point. As the link that GIGObuster posted notes, it was the Nixon administration (a Republican administration) that founded the agency.
#8
Old 01-28-2017, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
It would be hard not to notice the right's disdain for the EPA and I want to know why. Is there any logical, factual evidence that the EPA is corrupt or not making policies based on evidence?
It stifles business and puts US companies at an economic disadvantage compared to countries without an EPA. Some folks don't agree that it's worth it to have a cleaner environment when it costs jobs and profits.

In addition, a lot of folks on the right feel that the whole climate change thing is a hoax and basically just the left wing eco types finally finding an issue they can stick it to business over...and that the EPA has assisted them in doing so.

Quote:
Of all of Trump's EOs, the one forcing political filtering of EPA (et al) findings is the most disturbing. I'd like to think I'm just unaware of all of the terrible things the EPA is doing and maybe this is a good thing, but I just can't connect the dots.
It's basically because you have a different world view than those who are making the claims. You feel that having a safe and healthy environment is worth the costs in terms of jobs and profits and probably feel that since the vast majority of experts in the field of climate science are sure that global climate change is happening and it's root cause is mainly human in origin and that it's not a vast left wing eco nut conspiracy to make us all go back to hunting and gathering.

Quote:
Look at industrial countries without environmental regulations, do they really envy that? Do they really want to be like China or India?
Both have environmental regulations btw. The real differences is that they aren't enforced, since in the case of the CCP they can pretty much decide what is or isn't enforced by fiat. On the books, however, China has some very tough regulations.

Quote:
At least China is now paying lip service to the environment, not poo-pooing it in the name of cheaper goods.
Their environmental disasters are becoming so overwhelming that even the CCP has to pay attention and at least look like they are trying to do something. Mainly, though, the CCPs initiatives are doing things like censorship in China and on Chinese (state controlled) social media, attempting to stifle or deflect knowledge of how bad it is externally, moving the bar for polution counters so it doesn't alert until it hits a higher mark, claiming the smog is really just fog so it isn't a problem, etc etc. IOW, it's more than lip service but a lot of it is just damage control or simply censorship. That said, they almost HAVE to start doing something on this as it's a major problem in China.

I know less about India so maybe someone can chime in on that. I was in India in the 90's working on building network infrastructure there
#9
Old 01-28-2017, 03:35 PM
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Just to offer an alternative as to why individuals may hate the EPA.

There is a perception that the EPA deals with issues unfairly. In some cases this could be justified and in others not.

Large companies often have the money to work within the EPA's restrictions or the political capital to carve out exceptions for themselves. This creates situations where an individual may perceive the EPA as working against them.

'I wanted to build a house on my property but the EPA said no it's wetland so I sold it for pennies on the dollar. Then Walmart bought the property and put it in a giant box store hows that fair'
#10
Old 01-28-2017, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Just to offer an alternative as to why individuals may hate the EPA.

There is a perception that the EPA deals with issues unfairly. In some cases this could be justified and in others not.

Large companies often have the money to work within the EPA's restrictions or the political capital to carve out exceptions for themselves. This creates situations where an individual may perceive the EPA as working against them.

'I wanted to build a house on my property but the EPA said no it's wetland so I sold it for pennies on the dollar. Then Walmart bought the property and put it in a giant box store hows that fair'
Perfect example for how the EPA is unfairly scapegoated for general hatred of environmental regulations. The EPA doesn't regulate wetlands, the Army Corps of Engineers does. And if Walmart built in a wetland, they paid a whole lot of money in permitting and mitigation costs - far more than would be worth the trouble for a homeowner.
#11
Old 01-28-2017, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by running coach View Post
The GOP thinks the EPA is blowing smoke.


It comes down to two words: Business profits.
You got that right ! It cost money to have your business be environmental friendly and if you get catch for breaking environmental laws it going to cost you big $$$!
It's a lot easier and cheaper for a factory to dump it hazard waste into the river or any body of water, this happen in a town near me . I happen to like having clear air to be breathe and water to drink .

Last edited by purplehearingaid; 01-28-2017 at 03:49 PM.
#12
Old 01-28-2017, 04:13 PM
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Does anyone have any specific verified examples of the EPA kowtowing to big industry? Carving out exceptions or prefered treatment to them? Basically corruption? Does anyone have examples of EPA regulations that actually are ridiculous?

My fox-news obsessed dad has always complained about how he can't use effective grass-safe weed killer on his lawn due to those damn EPA regulations. Like they exist just to make his fight against weeds harder. I usually tell him I don't know why it's banned, but maybe they had proof that runoff caused environmental impact in streams and rivers, or maybe the chemicals caused cancer in mice or something, but I believe they probably had good reason to ban it. He thinks it probably negatively affected some insignificant bug or some rare minnow and now no one can use it due to some bleeding heart libs personal belief.
#13
Old 01-28-2017, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nate View Post
Does anyone have any specific verified examples of the EPA kowtowing to big industry? Carving out exceptions or prefered treatment to them? Basically corruption? Does anyone have examples of EPA regulations that actually are ridiculous?

My fox-news obsessed dad has always complained about how he can't use effective grass-safe weed killer on his lawn due to those damn EPA regulations. Like they exist just to make his fight against weeds harder. I usually tell him I don't know why it's banned, but maybe they had proof that runoff caused environmental impact in streams and rivers, or maybe the chemicals caused cancer in mice or something, but I believe they probably had good reason to ban it. He thinks it probably negatively affected some insignificant bug or some rare minnow and now no one can use it due to some bleeding heart libs personal belief.
A quick Google search mostly reveals corruption of a political or partisan sort. Things like holding up new regulations until after an election (so as to avoid negatively affecting the chances of an incumbent) or using public funds to send out lobbying materiel to various environmental groups. There was a early email scandal involving Carol Browner, a former head of the EPA who purportedly destroyed many electronic files that she had no business deleting. All fairly minor, seemingly rather partisan complaints, methinks.

http://westernjournalism.com/exp...uption-agency/
#14
Old 01-28-2017, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nate View Post
It would be hard not to notice the right's disdain for the EPA and I want to know why. Is there any logical, factual evidence that the EPA is corrupt or not making policies based on evidence?
Here are some articles from the right, explaining their view of the EPA:

http://theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-jobs-and-the-rogue-epa/


http://forbes.com/sites/markhend.../#1731df735beb

Among the crimes committed by the EPA:

"The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in 'covert propaganda' and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters." - New York Times, 12/14/2015

In Michigan et. al. vs EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had illegally refused to consider the cost of regulations while making decisions.

The EPA attempted a massive power grab by expanding its own authority under the Clean Water Act. The CWA gives the EPA power to regulate runoff into lakes and rivers. The EPA tried to expand its authority from what is actually in the law and give itself authority over things like small ponds, streams, and ditches. 27 states fought back in court. They won, with the court ruling that the EPA's action was not justified.

Other environmental regulations from other agencies involve illegal government overreach as well. For example, the Fish & wildlife Service has tried to classify species as endangered, which are not actually endangered. This could be used to give the government power over large areas of land, shutting down drilling, mining, and ranching on those areas. That's been knocked down in court as well.

So in summary, federal environmental regulators have broken the law many times. Some people are upset about this because they believe that the government should obey the law.
#15
Old 01-28-2017, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
Among the crimes committed by the EPA:

"The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in 'covert propaganda' and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters." - New York Times, 12/14/2015
Well, one way to deal with a Gish gallop is just to see if the first example is as bad as claimed.
Quote:
EPA officials insist they did nothing wrong, and that the agency has a right to promote its policies publicly. The New York Times reports the amount of money spent on the campaign was probably trivial, and the likely punishment would be a simple acknowledgment that a mistake was made. Still, it will give more fodder to Republican opponents of the Waters of the U.S. rule as they push to block it as part of a larger government spending bill this week.
As reported days after and by the NYT "the G.A.O.’s findings are unlikely to lead to civil or criminal penalties."

As Steve Benen at MSNBC noted:
http://msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-s...tic-advertised
Quote:
I’m strongly of the opinion that covert government propaganda must be avoided, but the allegations here are pretty thin. The EPA created a social-media message, it disseminated that message, and it made no effort whatsoever to hide its authorship of the message.

The investigation’s findings even noted that the content was “visibly attributed to EPA, as it displayed the agency’s profile photo and, under the title, ‘by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.’” Here’s the original page the public was directed to – and take note of the EPA logo in the middle.

So what’s the catch? Apparently, investigators at the Government Accountability Office determined that as the EPA’s message worked its way around the Internet, it might not have been entirely clear that the EPA created the message.

Ergo, there was a potential for “covert propaganda.” These are the “extreme lengths” about which Inhofe was so eager to complain.

Look, media sock-puppetry must be avoided, regardless of administration. And when the Bush/Cheney team used taxpayer money to pay pundits to publicly praise the administration’s agenda, that was a real controversy.

This EPA story, however, is something else entirely, and it seems quite trivial by comparison.
#16
Old 01-28-2017, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ZebraShaSha View Post
The EPA puts regulations on industry, which costs them money. Republicans represent industry and are greedy assholes.
Nice rewrite of history. The EPA was created by a Republican (Nixon). Recently Obama used it as a sound-bite hand grenade on his way out the door to generate knee-jerk reactions like this thread. He should have to pay for any financial damage he caused.
#17
Old 01-28-2017, 09:05 PM
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Animus River spill yet
#18
Old 01-28-2017, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Animus River spill yet
It was a disaster by incompetence or laziness or underfunding for sure. But not nefarious. Mistakes, even huge mistakes happen and should be appropriately handled, but that doesn't mean the EPA overall is not a net positive for the country. I mean, we wouldn't scrap the military if they accidentally bombed a hospital full of civilians because we expect the occasional disaster to happen.
#19
Old 01-31-2017, 07:10 PM
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Yes, because an agency isn't doing its job well enough, we should give them even LESS money, as if that will somehow make them improve.
#20
Old 02-01-2017, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Animus River spill yet
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate View Post
It was a disaster by incompetence or laziness or underfunding for sure. But not nefarious. Mistakes, even huge mistakes happen and should be appropriately handled, but that doesn't mean the EPA overall is not a net positive for the country. I mean, we wouldn't scrap the military if they accidentally bombed a hospital full of civilians because we expect the occasional disaster to happen.
That shit was intentional.

Go to the 39 minute mark.


Now, here we are.

LINK

Last edited by chacoguy; 02-01-2017 at 12:46 AM.
#21
Old 02-01-2017, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Nice rewrite of history. The EPA was created by a Republican (Nixon). Recently Obama used it as a sound-bite hand grenade on his way out the door to generate knee-jerk reactions like this thread. He should have to pay for any financial damage he caused.
Created by a Republican 46+ years ago. More than a decade before the coke/yuppie/Izod generation. cf. Wall Street, Boiler Room.

Sorry, you don't get to claim the Republican party isn't all about 'Greed is good' anymore.

Last edited by Johnny Ace; 02-01-2017 at 01:25 AM.
#22
Old 02-01-2017, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Nice rewrite of history. The EPA was created by a Republican (Nixon). Recently Obama used it as a sound-bite hand grenade on his way out the door to generate knee-jerk reactions like this thread. He should have to pay for any financial damage he caused.
I share the opinion of those that think Nixon would be decried as a socialist/communist or something similar if he were to run today with his same policies. No party, Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, has had the same platform for its whole existence, so saying that a Republican president created the EPA decades ago doesn't mean much for the Republican party today.
#23
Old 02-01-2017, 12:37 PM
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The EPA like everything else is subject to the law of diminishing returns. To illustrate think of taking down a Christmas Tree. Undecorating and disposing of a pine tree means huge numbers of needles falling onto the floor. In order to clean this up you take a broom and dustpan and in five minutes pick up 90% of the needles. Then you take a vacuum and in five minutes get 90% of the needles that are left. That still leaves 1% of the needles so you get down on your hands and knees and pick and in five minutes pick up the rest by hand. Picking up the last 1% took as much time and more effort than picking up the first 90%. If you decide to skip the hands and knees step it does not mean you are for having the floor covered with needles.
Since the EPA was first created the air is much cleaner, the water is much cleaner, and so is the environment generally. The EPA is responsible for some of that. Doing good work forty years ago does not mean they are exempt from criticism. No bureaucracy will go away even after it has accomplished its mission so the EPA is looking for new areas to regulate that do not pass a cost benefit analysis. For example they wanted to pass a mercury regulation that is estimated would cost $9.6 billion a year and have $4 to 6 million in benefits. They tried to regulate emissions by amateur racers. As has been discussed up thread they used social media to advocate for positive feedback for a proposed rule.
They also tried to change the law to get Carbon Dioxide classified as a pollutant without congressional approval.
#24
Old 02-01-2017, 01:31 PM
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Uh... admittedly, I'm not going to watch the videos, but nothing in the Denver Post article contradicts my point: the disaster was preventable but not malicious.
#25
Old 02-01-2017, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
For example they wanted to pass a mercury regulation that is estimated would cost $9.6 billion a year and have $4 to 6 million in benefits.
That is a bit misleading because the regulation did not look just at mercury.

http://vox.com/2015/6/29/8861167...g-mercury-coal
Quote:
Yet, when the EPA analyzed the rule, it calculated that the benefits of reducing mercury from power plants were just $4 million to $9 million. There's a decent case that the EPA understated those benefits, in part because economists aren't yet able to quantify all the damages from mercury. But regardless, what the EPA's published numbers said is that the benefits from curbing mercury were way lower than the costs.

At that point, however, EPA took another step. The agency pointed out that if coal-fired power plants installed scrubbers to clean up mercury, that would also reduce other pollutants, particularly fine particulates like soot. And these pollutants are widely known to damage lungs and kill people. The EPA estimated that these "co-benefits" were worth some $26 billion to $89 billion per year. Looked at in this light, the benefits of the mercury rule far exceeded the cost.

When the rule came out, environmentalists hailed it as a sweeping public health measure and a worthwhile investment. Industry groups complained that the costs of compliance vastly outweighed the benefits of cleaning up mercury. And, in a sense, both sides were right.
#26
Old 02-01-2017, 02:33 PM
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BTW AFAIK that bit about the EPA "tried to change the law to get Carbon Dioxide classified as a pollutant without congressional approval. " Is a bit silly, it ignores that the EPA had discretion in looking at what current science is reporting about pollutants. The current congress is full of Republicans who deny that very issue and the administration and the EPA were the ones making the best efforts to control the issue with that restriction.

Conservative states did try to defeat the regulations but even Scalia, while chastising the EPA for not getting more congressional input, (again, their input was to deny the whole thing) granted that the EPA had a point though.

http://heraldcourier.com/news/su...7a43b2370.html
Quote:
But by a wider, 7-2 margin, the court preserved EPA's authority over facilities that already emit pollutants that the agency regulates, other than greenhouse gases.

"EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case," Scalia said. He said the agency wanted to regulate 86 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted from plants nationwide, and it will it be able to regulate 83 percent of the emissions under the ruling. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would go farther and bar all regulation of greenhouse gases under the permitting program.

The EPA called the decision "a win for our efforts to reduce carbon pollution because it allows EPA, states and other permitting authorities to continue to require carbon pollution limits in permits for the largest pollution sources."

Last edited by GIGObuster; 02-01-2017 at 02:34 PM.
#27
Old 02-01-2017, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
They also tried to change the law to get Carbon Dioxide classified as a pollutant without congressional approval.
In fact, in 2007, a divided Supreme Court (5-4) ruled that the EPA had the duty (not just the right) to regulate CO2. This is way beyond saying that they don't have the authority to do it...It is saying they don't have the authority NOT to do it.

More recently, with an Administration that wanted to regulate CO2, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to uphold the right of the EPA to regulate CO2, while slightly limiting that right (so that it covered 83% rather than 86% of all emissions). This ruling was even endorsed by conservatives Scalia (who wrote the decision), Roberts, and Kennedy. Only the ultra-right Alito and Thomas dissented from the notion that the EPA had this right.
#28
Old 02-01-2017, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
In Michigan et. al. vs EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had illegally refused to consider the cost of regulations while making decisions.
That was a 5-4 decision, so in other words, there is lots of disagreement over whether what they did was legal or illegal. That is hardly an example of some sort of dramatic illegality when the Supremes are as closely divided as possible over whether such illegality occurred.
#29
Old 02-01-2017, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
The EPA attempted a massive power grab by expanding its own authority under the Clean Water Act. The CWA gives the EPA power to regulate runoff into lakes and rivers. The EPA tried to expand its authority from what is actually in the law and give itself authority over things like small ponds, streams, and ditches. 27 states fought back in court. They won, with the court ruling that the EPA's action was not justified.
Where did you see that they won? What I saw as of the summer is that the rule has been temporarily blocked while litigation proceeds on it.
#30
Old 02-01-2017, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
So in summary, federal environmental regulators have broken the law many times. Some people are upset about this because they believe that the government should obey the law.
You've presented a very biased view where you have cherrypicked the cases where there have been rulings that the regulators broke the law by going too far (and with the issues I noted above with 2 of your examples), but have ignored the cases where Courts have ruled that the regulators have not gone far enough.
#31
Old 02-01-2017, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
Other environmental regulations from other agencies involve illegal government overreach as well. For example, the Fish & wildlife Service has tried to classify species as endangered, which are not actually endangered. This could be used to give the government power over large areas of land, shutting down drilling, mining, and ranching on those areas. That's been knocked down in court as well.
Could you provide us a link to the decision? Your link talks about Scott Priutt filing the lawsuit, not the outcome of that suit.
#32
Old 02-01-2017, 11:04 PM
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Court vacates lesser prairie chickens' threatened status.

Regarding the lawsuits about the Clean Water Act power-grab, multiple lawsuits are in progress at various stages. It's true that there has been no final ruling, but given that the CWA clearly defines that "navigable waters" are covered and that the EPA regulations clearly went beyond that, chances for the rule surviving as written would seem slim. In the current administration the issue may become moot, of course, as may other legal fights involving the EPA currently working their way through the courts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jshore
You've presented a very biased view
And I never said I didn't. The OP asked for help in understanding how the right views the EPA.

As there's been a lot of talk lately about the possibility that some elite liberals are in a bubble, it may be worth noting that for a typical lawyer in DC or socialite in Manhattan, these sorts of EPA regulations have few direct effects. But for millions of people, mainly out in that big stretch of the country between the Appalachians and the Sierra Nevada, they do. For many ranchers, miners, oil rig workers, factory workers, truck drivers, and others, these issues directly impact their ability to earn a good living.
#33
Old 02-02-2017, 09:34 AM
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I don't mind the idea of the EPA, in fact I think they've done a lot of good for our country.

But I sure curse their frigging name while I'm spilling a bunch of gasoline on my grass while trying to fill my lawnmower with one of those ventless gas cans that require three hands to operate. Seriously, how do the vented vapors cause more environmental harm, than spilling a pint of gas directly on the ground.
#34
Old 02-02-2017, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
Court vacates lesser prairie chickens' threatened status.

Regarding the lawsuits about the Clean Water Act power-grab, ....
Can you unpack your "power-grab" statement? I'm not seeing the incentive for the EPA to grab more and more "power". It's my guess that some in the EPA may see it is their responsibility to ensure clean water, and may have evidence that chemicals dumped into a pond completely enclosed in one's property will eventually seep into the ground water, affecting us all, so they see it as a duty to regulate/enforce this sort of thing. Labeling it as a power-grab places nefarious intentions on this, and if you don't have any evidence of that, why do you insist on calling it that? Why would anyone at the EPA intentionally make up regulations to harm business? What motivation or incentive do they have for doing that? It doesn't make any sense to me.
#35
Old 02-02-2017, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nate View Post
Can you unpack your "power-grab" statement? I'm not seeing the incentive for the EPA to grab more and more "power". It's my guess that some in the EPA may see it is their responsibility to ensure clean water, and may have evidence that chemicals dumped into a pond completely enclosed in one's property will eventually seep into the ground water, affecting us all, so they see it as a duty to regulate/enforce this sort of thing. Labeling it as a power-grab places nefarious intentions on this, and if you don't have any evidence of that, why do you insist on calling it that? Why would anyone at the EPA intentionally make up regulations to harm business? What motivation or incentive do they have for doing that? It doesn't make any sense to me.
Could it be because the law doesn't authorize them to regulate ponds completely enclosed in one's property?
#36
Old 02-02-2017, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nate View Post
Can you unpack your "power-grab" statement? I'm not seeing the incentive for the EPA to grab more and more "power". It's my guess that some in the EPA may see it is their responsibility to ensure clean water, and may have evidence that chemicals dumped into a pond completely enclosed in one's property will eventually seep into the ground water, affecting us all, so they see it as a duty to regulate/enforce this sort of thing. Labeling it as a power-grab places nefarious intentions on this, and if you don't have any evidence of that, why do you insist on calling it that? Why would anyone at the EPA intentionally make up regulations to harm business? What motivation or incentive do they have for doing that? It doesn't make any sense to me.
It's projection. Those against the EPA have selfish motives for their opposition, so they assume that those in favor of the EPA must have selfish motives for their support. Its the same reason that climate deniers claim that the 90+% of climate scientists who promote global warming as a problem are faking their data to indicate a crisis so that they can get more funding to do more faulty research.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 02-02-2017 at 12:51 PM.
#37
Old 02-02-2017, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Buck Godot View Post
It's projection. Those against the EPA have selfish motives for their opposition, so they assume that those in favor of the EPA must have selfish motives for their support. Its the same reason that climate deniers claim that the 90+% of climate scientists who promote global warming as a problem are faking their data to indicate a crisis so that they can get more funding to do more faulty research.
So, speaking as an professional environmental person (and generally a supporter of the Endangered Species Act), I'd say that the endangered species act is, in essence, "selfish". It codifies that a large group of people have a "selfish" interest in a species not going extinct. There's actually a great deal of research done to quantify this selfishness by placing non-market value on such things. E.g. quantifying "would you pay $10 apiece to ensure that the condor will survive? what about $20? $1000?". (I understand that you are talking about assuming additional hidden motives such as a personal profit - but it's important to recognize that the larger tradeoff is collective selfishness - and there's nothing wrong with that).

Edited to distinguish "ESA" from "EPA"

Last edited by squidfood; 02-02-2017 at 02:01 PM.
#38
Old 02-02-2017, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Could it be because the law doesn't authorize them to regulate ponds completely enclosed in one's property?
But is that a power-grab? And what would be the motivation or incentive to work outside the law to regulate these ponds?
#39
Old 02-02-2017, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by nate View Post
But is that a power-grab? And what would be the motivation or incentive to work outside the law to regulate these ponds?
You started this thread asking about what beef conservatives have with the EPA. This is one of them. It's certainly not uncommon for conservatives to view it as a power grab. It's even in the GOP platform:

Quote:
Like the rest of the economy, agriculture has suffered through eight years of the Democrats’ regulatory juggernaut, particularly from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). States, not Washington bureaucrats, are best equipped to engage farmers and ranchers to develop sound farm oversight policies. The EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, issued jointly with the Army Corps of Engineers, is a travesty. It extends the government’s jurisdiction over navigable waters into the micro-management of puddles and ditches on farms, ranches, and other privately-held property. Ditches, dry creek beds, stock ponds, prairie potholes, and other nonnavigable wet areas are already regulated by the states. WOTUS is now subject to judicial review and must be invalidated, but that will not be sufficient. Unelected bureaucrats must be stopped from furthering the Democratic Party’s political agenda through regulatory demands forced upon citizens and businesses beyond that which is required by law. We must never allow federal agencies to seize control of state waters, watersheds, or groundwater. State waters, watersheds, and groundwater must be the purview of the sovereign states.
As to the motivation / incentive, here's another aspect common to conservative's worldviews: it's not uncommon for bureaucracies to take on a life of their own, working to gain additional power and budget. You can read up on Parkinson's Law sometime if you're interested in it.
#40
Old 02-02-2017, 09:37 PM
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The reason is that GOP voters, GOP legislators, & GOP executives have listened for decades to "right-wing," "libertarian," & "pro-business" stories disseminated virally by media and propaganda outfits specifically funded by wealthy political activists. What do the "culturally conservative" Heritage Foundation, and the "libertarian" Cato Institute have in common, and in common with many other "respected think tanks" in the USA? They're funded by the same billionaires. The Koch family are the big names in those cases. There are also the libertarian Mercers (who elevated "Leninist tea party guy" Steve Bannon), the Forbes family, and whatever Pete Peterson is. There are some other wealthy types who play this sort of donation game but avoid controversy, like the Mellons.

In a free market society, the richest of the rich tend to be more sociopathic, because at the top levels of wealth, those with less conscience give less to charity, and they cheat their way into more profit more. So over time, the less empathetic and less moral get richer and richer, and the influence of lobbying organizations & political parties is bent to those who can fund them. The Kochs (through various outlets pretending to be conservative, libertarian, traditional, rationalist, reformist, or skeptical, to gain as much audience as possible) have won over enough hearts and minds to direct the GOP base overall in a low-tax, low-service, anti-regulation direction. And any GOP legislator who goes wobbly can expect to be shot down by a direct mail campaign (usually through "Americans for Prosperity") and replaced.

So conservatives have been taught to be not conservationist for thirty years. At this point, the old-fashioned sort of conservatives have no political representation, and may be dying off. I have heard that in Canada, former PM Steve Harper apparently went to a church that taught that petroleum was a precious gift from God, and that both restrictions on the industry & the environmental science that led to them were therefore bad, We may find that in another thirty years, complaining about the smog is considered treason and punishable as such.
#41
Old 02-02-2017, 09:47 PM
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Also, the EPA is too "new" to be respectable in some minds. The EPA was founded in 1970. Right-wing Republicans have been complaining about "alphabet soup" agencies since the 1930's. Many political conservatives over the last few decades grew to adulthood in a world without an EPA--granted, a world where rivers caught fire, but they were young then, and their nostalgia tells them it was a better world.

The younger ones don't remember what it was like before, and take our less polluted air and water for granted.

And there's an astronomically large philosophical gulf; between conservationists who believe in the Endangered Species Act; and whatever you call those who despise an entire species of life for being small, obscure, and unimpressive. A party that praises the famous and wealthy while despising the poor and the working class, and courts bigots while lampooning integration, already has the moral outlook to despise blind cave fish or insects that live only high on mountainsides.

Last edited by foolsguinea; 02-02-2017 at 09:48 PM.
#42
Old 02-02-2017, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
As to the motivation / incentive, here's another aspect common to conservative's worldviews: it's not uncommon for bureaucracies to take on a life of their own, working to gain additional power and budget. You can read up on Parkinson's Law sometime if you're interested in it.
And yet, conservatives have objected to regulatory alphabet soup agencies since they were founded. And yet, the highway department and the army always get funded. So it's not a stand on that principle.

It's that EPA is seen as making it harder to look like you're doing something. You don't get to pour concrete everywhere, you have to ask permission, you have to spend more money, it's annoying.

But to society, yeah, EPA is worth it.
#43
Old 02-03-2017, 12:20 PM
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The EPA shut down the Ghostbusters' containment unit and led to the coming of Gozer.

I will never forgive them for that.
#44
Old 02-04-2017, 07:07 PM
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We used to control aphids on our rose bushes with DDT.

It's been 50+years, so I can't recall the name, but there was an industrial-strength solvent sold as a stain remover for household use.

The "freon" in your air conditioner is a PCB in gaseous form. It will NEVER degrade. Regs require your HVAC guy to capture the stuff.

That second hose on the gas pump is a capture line for the gasoline fumes. The little flap inside the gas fill port is there to seal off the tank with the pump's nozzle is in it.

Car gas caps were often left on the pump and the car driven without a cap for weeks.

My mother often painted me up "like an Indian's war paint" using mercury-based first-aid materials.

Our "spray-on" deodorant was propelled by PCB gas.

That transformer on the "telephone pole" had liquid PCB insulation.

The shoe store had the neat machine to show the parents how much "growing room" the shoe gave the kid. It gave off several times more X-rays as a medical X-ray (actually an X-ray is a type of radiation).

My parents told me that the huge smokestack belching black crap into the air was actually a source of civic pride.

Do I need to point out that cars getting 10 MPG emit more gasses than one getting 30 MPG?


There are lots of people who firmly believe that, if there were no EPA rules, then 1957 would return and high-sulfur coal would again be profitable, those (anybody not white) would know there place and stay in it, etc.

It is either incredibly sad or really, really scary.
#45
Old 02-04-2017, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
You started this thread asking about what beef conservatives have with the EPA. This is one of them. It's certainly not uncommon for conservatives to view it as a power grab. It's even in the GOP platform:



As to the motivation / incentive, here's another aspect common to conservative's worldviews: it's not uncommon for bureaucracies to take on a life of their own, working to gain additional power and budget. You can read up on Parkinson's Law sometime if you're interested in it.
Yes, they view it as a power grab, but what I'm asking for is any evidence of nefarious activity by the EPA. So far I haven't seen anything. I'm looking for evidence of the EPA deciding to create regulations for the purpose of hurting business, or creating a regulation not based on evidence, or even creating a regulation with little environmental benefit but places a huge crushing burden on business. There should be plenty of examples of these situations given the hatred of the EPA by conservatives.
#46
Old 02-04-2017, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nate View Post
Yes, they view it as a power grab, but what I'm asking for is any evidence of nefarious activity by the EPA. So far I haven't seen anything. I'm looking for evidence of the EPA deciding to create regulations for the purpose of hurting business, or creating a regulation not based on evidence, or even creating a regulation with little environmental benefit but places a huge crushing burden on business. There should be plenty of examples of these situations given the hatred of the EPA by conservatives.
You've created a straw man argument when you added the caveat that hurting a business is an intention of the EPA.
#47
Old 02-05-2017, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
You've created a straw man argument when you added the caveat that hurting a business is an intention of the EPA.
I don't believe I am considering I've heard several conservative co-workers say the EPA has an agenda to shut down coal plants. I think they truly believe that. But, whatever, let's assume they don't and no conservative really believes this. Then we are back at what our society's evolved answer to the tragedy of the commons, having a large group of experts study, create and enforce regulations to protect our commons. And of course, the cost of doing business would rise due to this, because it's always cheaper not have to contain your pollutants. I think we could all agree about this.

So the bitching session SHOULD be about specific regulations that don't make any sense but I haven't seen one example in this thread so far. I'm confident that there are some out there, so please educate me.
#48
Old 02-05-2017, 10:08 AM
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Nobody wants dirty air and water. However the epa has largely succeeded at the mission it was given in the seventies to clean up the environment. The problem is that for the epa to continue to exist it has to keep showing that there is something it is still needed for. So they decide that a 99% cleanup is insufficient and they need 99.9% then 99.99% and so on. Unfortunately each 9 you add increases the cost of such cleanup beyond what is economically feasible while at the same time getting smaller and smaller real returns on said cleanup.
#49
Old 02-05-2017, 10:13 AM
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Show me someone who is against the EPA, and I'll show you someone who never had to breathe the air in Southern California during the 70's.
#50
Old 02-05-2017, 12:29 PM
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..

Last edited by nate; 02-05-2017 at 12:31 PM. Reason: duplicate post
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