In Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” a state scientist quips: “Did you really think we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. … We’re after power and we mean it. … There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.”
Case in point: The April 20, 2010 BP oil rig explosion off the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused oil to seep uncontrollably for 87 days. When this fatal environmental accident occurred on the EPA’s watch, the EPA’s regulators and enforcement partners within the Interior Department blamed the oil industry instead of owning up to their incompetence and deceit.
The Federal Government has charged BP as a “responsible party” in the spill and BP has set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims. The Justice Department is also leading a criminal investigation into the spill.
Certainly BP’s laxity played a role in the accident. However, BP relied on government regulators and engineers who approved the use of a seal that had far too much cement and indeed reports now show that the excessive cement triggered the fatal explosion.
The government approved the faulty seal and granted BP a "categorical exemption" from performing an environmental impact analysis on its Gulf of Mexico lease less than two weeks before the spill. Who are the “criminals” here? BP executives or the environmental regulators who governed BP?
Per a 2007 Supreme Court Decision, the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases—only if scientific data shows that greenhouse gases endanger public health.
But in September, the Associated Press revealed an internal government watchdog report: “The Obama administration cut corners…” because the EPA issued “controversial and expensive regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time” despite the fact that the EPA did not conduct sufficient scientific studies to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions do in fact “pose dangers to human health and welfare.”
Today, tens of thousands of oil jobs (and therefore the public health) are in jeopardy because President Obama is citing faulty EPA data on greenhouse emissions to delay building the Keystone XL pipeline.
The EPA claims to be “working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.” Instead, the EPA places the environment and public health in jeopardy. Let’s dump the EPA.