Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Going Rogue: Sarah Palin?
No, the Environmental Protection Agency

Commentary by James H. Shott

On July 9, 1970, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by executive order as an independent agency joining together a number of functions from different federal agencies. The EPA says its mission “is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment – air, water and land – upon which life depends.”

An Administrator appointed by the President of the United States runs the agency, which is not a Cabinet agency, although the Administrator is usually given cabinet rank. Lisa P. Jackson is the current Administrator, and the EPA’s Website notes that the “FY 2010 Budget requests $10.5 billion in discretionary budget authority and 17,384.3 Full Time Equivalents (FTE) to accomplish EPA’s efforts to build a greener economy, move into a clean energy future, and protect human health and the environment in communities across the nation.”

With Congressional efforts to impose crippling costs, tax increases and job losses on taxpayers and the U.S. economy through cap-and-trade legislation, which fortunately is floundering, those Americans taking comfort from this probable failure should think again: Even if cap-and-trade efforts fail, the EPA can unilaterally impose the same horrors on the American people as the failed legislation, and maybe do worse.

Because 85 percent of the U.S. economy operates on fossil fuel, if cap-and-trade legislation is defeated, as it should be, and the EPA begins implementing the same measures the failed legislation would have implemented, grave effects on the economy will result. The Heritage Foundation predicts the following: cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses of $7 trillion by 2029; single-year GDP losses exceeding $600 billion in some years; energy cost increases of 30 percent or more; and annual job losses exceeding 800,000 for several years.

The country cannot afford cap-and-trade, and it cannot afford to allow the EPA to do the same things to the American people cap-and-trade would have done.

Lisa Jackson writes on the EPA Website that “As Administrator, I will ensure EPA's efforts to address the environmental crises of today are rooted in three fundamental values: science-based policies and programs, adherence to the rule of law, and overwhelming transparency.”

That sounds reassuring, doesn’t it? And if Ms. Jackson really meant it, perhaps it would be comforting. But, alas, it just isn’t so.

Recently, two lawyers working at the EPA, Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, produced a personal YouTube video entitled, “The Huge Mistake” that plainly asserts that cap-and-trade will not work. The EPA directed them to make changes to the video and must remove language specifying Mr. Zabel’s expertise and their years of employment with the agency, or face possible disciplinary action.

Back in June the EPA decided to suppress an internal report by Dr. Alan Carlin, a veteran EPA scientist specializing in climate change, who warned in the report that EPA had accepted findings of other organizations without careful and critical examination of conclusions and documentation. Dr. Carlin also noted that scientific research into climate change is incomplete and inconclusive, and therefore unsuitable as the basis for laws that will negatively affect both American families and the nation’s economy.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute reports that Dr. Carlin then received an email from Dr. Al McGartland, director of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, with this message: “The administrator and administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. … I can see only one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.”

Dr. Carlin said, “I’ve been involved in public policy since 1966 or 1967. There’s never been anything exactly like this. I am now under a gag order.”

So, Dr. Carlin, an EPA employee and a climate science analyst for decades, has been banned from writing or speaking about climate change, from attending any meetings that address climate change, and reassigned to updating a grants database.

How’s that for relying on science-based policies and programs, and transparency?

The EPA is a rogue agency, unaccountable to the people, except through the President, who shares its ideologically-driven environmental bias. Like the multitudinous czars populating the Obama administration, the EPA is not accountable to Congress, and therefore unaccountable to the American people that Congress represents. What happened to our system of checks and balances?

What is it about environmental issues that cause the scientists at the Climate Research Unit in Great Britain and NASA in the U.S. to commit fraud and deceive the public? Why do the bureaucrats at the EPA feel the need to suppress dissent, to hide inconvenient information, to gag scientists and intimidate employees who disagree with the dogma of man-caused climate change? Isn’t science supposed to be a continuous search for the truth? Isn’t government a tool of the people, not their ruler?

The term “political science” has taken on new meaning, as the aforementioned scientists and bureaucrats have forsaken their professional ethics and their duty to the American people in favor of their narrow ideology. Where the environment is concerned, there is a whole lot of politics and less real science.

Cross-posted from Observations

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