Right-Sizing the EPA

This is a first in a series of opinion articles dealing with the necessity of reducing the size and cost of a bloated federal bureaucracy that has demonstrated its ineffectiveness and its inefficiency. These opinion articles are adapted from an original position paper, America’s Path to Prosperity, authored by the American Issues Policy Group.

Since January 2009, the Obama administration has added 144,700 new employees to a federal payroll that reached $433 billion in 2011. This net increase excludes postal employees, uniform military and census workers.

The CBO has estimated that while salaries of federal workers are about 2% higher than those for similar private sector employee, average benefits exceed private sector levels by 48%.  Adjusting for education, work experience and occupation, total compensation for federal employees exceeded private sector employees by 16 percent. And, to top it off, it’s virtually impossible to fire bad federal employees.

It is now time to “right-size” the scale of federal government, not only in terms of numbers of employees but also in terms of the scope of government size. Many departments are bloated with unnecessary employees, while other departments have exceeded their mission.  The fat and waste in government is palpable.

Accordingly, the American Issues Policy Group, has analyzed the problem at a macro-level and arrived at specific recommendations with reflected dollar savings with each recommendation.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA is not a cabinet level department. It was created by Executive Order signed by President Nixon.  The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. The EPA proposes to protect human health and the environment through five strategic goals: (1) addressing climate change and improving air quality; (2) protecting America’s waters; (3) cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development; (4) ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution; and (5) protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance.  The 10th Amendment of the Constitution rightfully reserves these responsibilities to the states respectively, or to the people.

Over the last ten years, 2005-2014, the EPA budget averaged $8.2 billion with an average of 16,895 employees.  Under the Obama Administration, the EPA has drastically expanded its regulatory authority. The EPA is pumping out new regulations every week, without Congress’ consent, that impact nearly every facet of Americans’ lives—from whom you can hire to remodel your house[i] to what kind of car you can drive.[ii] This Administration is using the EPA to force on the American people an extreme environmental agenda that is hurting our economy and push an unwelcome government further into the lives of citizens.

In 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its judgment finding that the EPA exceeded its authority when it expanded its regulatory reach by tailoring an expansive interpretation of an existing law (Utility Air v EPA, Opinion 20140623, Case No. 12-1146). Also in 2014, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act to rein in an out of control EPA.

Today, the EPA is wading into so-called climate change even though there is no scientific evidence connecting the human role to climate change; carbon dioxide has not caused weather to become more extreme, polar ice and sea ice to melt, or sea level to rise; and East Anglican University and the United Nation’s IPCC have been thoroughly discredited.

EPA Overreach.  “Boiler MACT” is the name for the EPA’s 2011 standards for cutting emissions from boilers used in manufacturing and processing, and in commercial uses such as malls and hospitals.  Under the regulations, the majority of boilers had to be retrofitted with new, costly emissions curbing technologies with an upfront cost of $10 billion and an annual compliance cost of $3 billion.[iii]

In July 2011, EPA finalized its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and focused on Texas, which was included due to a hypothetical linkage between Texas emissions and a pollution monitor hundreds of miles away in Granite City, Illinois.  Texas was never offered the opportunity to publicly comment on the regulation.  Compliance costs are estimated at $2.4 billion annually.[iv]

The United States Supreme Court, in UARG v EPA (6/23/14), ruled that it was unconstitutional for the EPA to decree that millions of small businesses are greenhouse polluters.[v] The EPA admitted that requiring monitoring of greenhouse gases would require 230,000 additional federal workers or a 1,253% increase in EPA staff at a cost of an additional $32 billion in total compensation costs. There are no limits to the EPA’s use of power.

Conclusion.  Today, the EPA has become a rogue government unto itself, a political weapon wielded by progressive-socialists intent on promoting their political and social agendas, exerting population control and burdening American businesses with ever increasing regulations and  higher taxes. For these reasons the EPA should be eliminated.

Recommendation

  • Contract with a major private sector consulting firm to plan and eliminate the EPA within one year, to include a 100% reduction in force by the end of that year.
  • The major private sector consulting firm is to identify all EPA regulations for elimination by executive order or legislative action.
  • Move residual EPA functions, e.g., facilitation and coordination between states, to the Interior Department.

Ten year estimated savings: $91 billion[vi]

[i] Wendy Koch,  “Most home remodeling will soon require EPA-certified workers,” USA Today,

www.content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/03/lack-of-epa-certified-workers -could-stallmodeling/1#.VVDmks7YBCg

[ii] EPA, “Vehicle Standards and Regulations,”  www.epa.gov/oms/standards.htm

[iii] Adam Peshek, “Two Examples of EPA Overreach,” Reason Foundation, http://reason.org,\ ,10/11/2011.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Sean Hackbarth, “EPA Goes Overboard on Greenhouse Gas Reach, Supreme Court Rules,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 10/23/2014,  http://uschamber.com

[vi] Estimated savings calculation based on 2015 budget of $7.9 billion with an annual growth rate of 3%  through 2024.

2 Comments

  1. You had to be there to see how correct much of this article is. EPA and many other Federal agencies have bloated staff sizes, budgets and salaries/benefits.
    The old excuse was that Federal employees had better healthcare, retirement and other perks because they were civil “servants” and had lower salaries. NO MORE. The salaries for comparable positions and qualified people in industry are significantly less than for Federal employees and healthcare costs and retirement benefits in govt. vs. industry SIGNIFICANTLY favor Federal employees.

    But what is worst is the expectations of Federal employees……….not all……..but especially older employees who have been in the system longest are given the easiest jobs with the lowest expectations…………so much for a skilled workforce. WE HAVE SEEN people who come to work at 10:30 AM, leave for lunch at noon, return at 2 PM and then leave work at 4 PM “to beat the traffic”.

    SEVERELY trim the EPA, prune the FDA and look at ALL of the other agencies with PRODUCTIVITY per person in focus.

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