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EPA Speeds Up Rule-making Process Ahead of Trump

EPA Speeds Up Rule-making Process Ahead of Trump

Investigation now shows EPA bypassed key laws when rushing water regulations!

I just blogged that Donald Trump picked Myron Ebell, Director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute and a noted climate change skeptic, to head his transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The current head of that agency is feeling the chill wind of change, and is heating up the implementation of environmental regulations ahead of Trump’s inauguration.

“As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a staff memo obtained by the Washington Examiner after Trump was declared the winner of Tuesday’s election.

The agency is currently working on regulations for the oil and gas sector, and is finalizing new annual regulations for the nation’s ethanol mandate and renewable fuel blending requirements. The agency is also moving rules related to implementation of its landmark Clean Power Plan for cutting carbon pollution from the nation’s coal utilities to combat global warming.

The eco-activsts at the agency have less that 70 days to engage in regulatory mayhem. Ebell is a staunch opponent of the Clean Power Plan:

Developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the plan is a far-reaching set of regulations that, by seeking to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation, could result in the closing of many coal-burning power plants, among other effects.

Mr. Ebell has said that the plan, which has been tied up in the courts since it was finalized in 2015, is illegal. In the interview in Paris last year, he said he hoped whoever was elected president would “undo the E.P.A. power plant regs and some of the other regs that are very harmful to our economy.”

This is not the first time that the EPA as dangerously sped up the regulatory promulgation process. Congressional investigators have asserted that the agency hastily created and implemented the Waters of the United States Act (WOTUS) to appease the White House and environmental activists.

In fact, in their rush, the investigators determined critical elements of oversight required by law were bypassed, despite numerous warnings.

The report also claims EPA sidelined the Army Corps of Engineers throughout the rulemaking process, and top administration officials restricted Corps communications with EPA over WOTUS.

Congressional investigators also found EPA ignored conducting a full analysis on how WOTUS would impact small businesses, as required by federal law. EPA also published its draft rule before the scientific study undergirding the justification for WOTUS was even published, “which creates the appearance that EPA’s policy decisions were foregone conclusions,” committee staffers wrote.

More troubling is Corps officials made “last minute” to an environmental review that “changed the dynamics” of how WOTUS was being evaluated by the government. These changes “EPA’s jurisdiction over certain wetlands and water bodies” and allowed the rule to circumvent a full environmental review as required by law.

Of course, when your rules don’t rely on real science, then there is no need to wait for actual data from detailed studies.

This investigation is probably of small comfort to Montana farmer Andy Johnson who felt the full force of the US Government threatening him with a $37,000/day fine for his legal stock pond related to the implementation of these rushed rules. Though a lawsuit against this action went his way, Johnson and his family still had to endure the stress and hardship related to fighting this legal battle.

It may be too much to hope for that bureaucrats such as McCarthy face serious legal consequences for failing to follow rules set-up to protect Americans from their regulatory antics. But perhaps Ebell can threaten her with a $37,000/day fine for this regulation?

Now that would be real climate justice.


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legacyrepublican | November 14, 2016 at 10:07 am

Well, we knew the EPA sucks. We now know they suck CO2 to death.

So their response is “We have to do as much damage as possible before the new administration gets in!”?

    smalltownoklahoman in reply to UnCivilServant. | November 14, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Yep, pretty much! While Trump may be waffling a bit already on some campaign promises they don’t dare take the chance that he won’t do everything he can to screw over their agenda.

    They’re just silly little birds pooping in their own nest. The day Trump gets in he’ll look through everything they do over the next two months, take out a pen and say, “Nope. No. Nope. Nope. Nope. No way. Nope…”

      Milhouse in reply to JohnC. | November 16, 2016 at 2:22 am

      He can’t. He’d have to call for public comment, and have a review process, and all sorts of time-wasting things.

What childish behavior. I sure hope there’s a purge of these ideologues come next year. I fear the next iteration of eco-warrior EPA administration will only be more disastrous without real reform to these bureaucracies.

The report also claims EPA sidelined the Army Corps of Engineers throughout the rulemaking process, and top administration officials restricted Corps communications with EPA over WOTUS.

Congressional investigators also found EPA ignored conducting a full analysis on how WOTUS would impact small businesses, as required by federal law. EPA also published its draft rule before the scientific study undergirding the justification for WOTUS was even published, “which creates the appearance that EPA’s policy decisions were foregone conclusions,” committee staffers wrote.

None of which we’d know about if not for those “worthless” Congressional investigations…which provide evidence for use in court.

It’s always dangerous to paint with too broad a brush but, as often repeated, the United States government (are NY and CA the JVs?) has become one big criminal operation. How to repair it with the DoJ, courts, education, and media so deeply enmeshed remains to be seen. The legislature has a terrible track record. Whether a supportive (hopefully) administration will make a difference or simply flush out the weak-willed in the legislature remains to be seen. Cautious optimism is the best I can muster at this point. The remaining months of the Obama administration should pretty much identify the “skins and the shirts” teams, to borrow an old term from the school days of yore.

I foresee an bunch of transfers to Bristol Bay, Alaska

    Haverwilde in reply to Neo. | November 14, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Bristol Bay is too important to us in Alaska. I’d guess Barrow would be better, but we still don’t want them in Alaska.
    Send them to south Texas, declare the Rio Grande a wild and scenic river, and use them to stop all human activity on the river.

While I agree that the EPA ia, and has always been a disaster, I would suggest that people not fall into the trap of simply accepting statements made by those who oppose that agency.

Andy Johnson did NOT simply create a “stock pond”. What he did was to create a reservoir by damming a tributary waterway of the Green River. A “stock pond is usually an enclosed body of water which relies upon rain run-off from surrounding land to keep it filled and does not rely upon damming a flowing water course. Some do have a source which can be opened to allow water to flow from a water course to the pond to keep it filled, but these usually require a permit from both the state and federal government. There are reasons for these regulations.

Johnson did not obtain a permit from the EPA, which has jurisdiction over the water course which he dammed, before he dammed it. While the EPA’s response to that was overly heavy handed, Johnson was not the innocent angel that the anti-EPA groups have painted him to be. And, his reservoir was not well set up to function as a “stock pond”.

    alaskabob in reply to Mac45. | November 14, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I understand what you are saying, but when you describe a “tributary waterway” , that could encompass a very small creek or rill. Knowing the definition of “wetlands” , peeing in an open field might fit the present EPA definition.

      Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. My cows, my tractor, my equipment – all hazards. The Kerry-DiCaprio-Gore air force…not so much.

    No. Andy Johnson got a permit from the state before beginning construction on a small dam that was both under the state’s Stock Water exemption and under 8 cubic yards of fill. It was not until nearly a year after construction was over before the federal authorities came out, examined the completed project, and issued their diktat.

    As for calling it a ‘reservoir,’ the whole body of water is small enough to toss a rock across even at the widest point, and the ‘dam’ is little more than a constant-flow concrete culvert under a road.

Given the incestuous relationship between the EPA and a large portion of environmental activist groups, I’m betting this is part of a much larger strategy. People move back and forth at the top levels between organizations and the EPA. So I fully expect them to load up with regulations and prepare a strategy to overreact for every reversal or change.

Both the media and Hollywood will be “commissioned” in the war, so to speak. It will be like the anti-fracking effort on steroids. The propaganda will be thick, and we will see endless reports of harmed animals and maybe even a few harmed humans, even though many Gaia types are more influenced by animal stories.

This isn’t an effort to “save the earth.” It’s a part of the larger strategy to keep the negative campaigning against Trump flourishing. Progressives may not be gaining in DC and in statehouses across the country. But they still are masters at getting the desired emotional responses. And the environment is one where it is easier to pull the strings. Even regarding clean energy, if you believe the handful of studies and surveys from Pew, Gallup, etc. No matter party affiliation people want a “clean” world and more “clean” energy. The ideological difference is how you go about it, especially the economics. But progressives will spend millions to win the argument on emotions. It’s one front they are confident they can beat back Trump and the GOP.

    Milwaukee in reply to casualobserver. | November 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I understand there is this “standing” problem for law suits. A person can not file a lawsuit without standing in the issue. However, it seems environmental groups have been given standing, by law, so they can file suits.

    The EPA has desired certain regulations, which they have been legislatively been denied. So, they have funded some group, which then files suit. The EPA rolls over in court, and the group gets a judge to issue the desired regulations. “incestuous” doesn’t begin to describe the evil of these relationships and how they have distorted the legislative and regulator environment.

    Yes, we need some regulations. We don’t need over regulation.

Trump’s EPA will simply cancel all these regulations like he will reverse all of Obama’s Executive Orders.

    Milhouse in reply to Kaffa. | November 16, 2016 at 2:26 am

    I wish he could, but I don’t think he can. Once the rules are finalized and published, he’d have to go through the whole rigmarole to undo them.

Don’t these new regulations have to be printed up in the Federal Register to take effect? Doesn’t that take a while?

If I were Trump I would simply announce that my first executive order will be: any regulations enacted after the election are suspended until a review that the protocols used to enact the legislation were actually followed , and no penalties be imposed until after those reviews are complete.

    NavyMustang in reply to RodFC. | November 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I think these clowns, even after all evidence to the contrary, still have no clue who they’re messing with.

    I’m sure Trump has plenty of experience dealing with intransigent employees and in this case, he’s taking really good notes.

    Milhouse in reply to RodFC. | November 16, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Yes, they have to be published. Most of that work has already been done. The comment periods have happened. Now they’re just getting them all in place before the new administration tells them to stop. Once they’re in place the new administration can’t do anything about it.

So, they admit that they have a political agenda, and now, since the clock is running out, they are going to work hard on it.
That pretty much drives a stake through the heart of their legitimacy.
Gee, that should look good in court.

That woman can’t disappear fast enough. Has no concept of or respect for representative republican government.

A Congressional investigation could put a quick halt to all of this. Ryan? Ryan? ….

The ideological left proves the point made by C.S. Lewis. They prove it over and over and over. While they decry the morals in the traditions of Judaism and Christianity, they have their own warped moral sense which, likes the Energizer Bunny, keeps them marching away. No wonder so many of them are so miserable.

C.S. Lewis
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

I’m torn. Part of me wants Trump to announce that all executive orders made within 90 days of his adminstration taking office will be immediately voided, and all regulatory rules published in that same timeframe will be rescinded and returned to the agencies for further evaluation. “Because they had eight years to do these things, and shoving them out in the last minutes before the administration leaves is a sign of sloppy work.”

Part of me wants him to wait until after the inauguration to announce it, as to catch the most hands in the cookie jars.

How much can they really fine anyone in 70 days?

On Monday, January 23, the Trump replacements can just put it in reverse and floor it!

You’d be (unpleasantly) surprised.

It follows perfectly from the eight year history of the Obama administration that his weaponized federal agencies would spend their lame duck weeks rushing in new regulations to tie up and bury earlier regulations and to stick a few more daggers into political enemies in the private sector. Pettiness is one hallmark of Obama’s legacy.

Here’s to the day when that calcified crone is recycled back into the environment.

“Investigation now shows EPA bypassed key laws when rushing water regulations!

…It may be too much to hope for that bureaucrats such as McCarthy face serious legal consequences for failing to follow rules set-up to protect Americans from their regulatory antics.”

It may well be that these bureaucrats won’t face any legal consequences, serious or otherwise, because these “key laws” don’t have any penalties attached. Congress does the same thing when regulating itself. By law Congress must pass a budget every year by a certain date. But for years Dingy Harry would not pass a budget. And he could do that because there are no penalties for violating that law. So it’s really no law at all.

Before FDR the federal bureaucracy did not have unfettered rule-making authority and it certainly didn’t have administrative law courts where they adjudicated cases concerning violations of their own rules. When FDR started implementing the New Deal he also began ruling unilaterally with his pen and phone and bypassed Congress and had his bureaucracies make just make new law and establish their own courts. Somebody sued, I forget who. I do know that the SCOTUS ruled that this was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. At first. Then FDR threatened to pack the court and the Supremes rolled over and rubberstamped just about everything he did.

As Hillary Clinton was exposed as saying in one of her private speeches, she has a public position and a private position. In plain English she’ll lie to get elected and then implement all the policies she couldn’t tell anybody about because to few people are stupid enough to vote for her actual policies. It takes a top tier college, preferably Ivy League, to dumb people down enough to believe in such stupidity. The libs are the worst offenders, but they don’t beat the RINOs by all that much.

As Mark Steyn notes the leftists have been far more successful implementing their policies through the courts then through legislatures because of the stupid. But the libs, and I don’t just Democrats, have also empowered the bureaucracies to implement through regulation what they dare not do themselves if they want to keep getting elected.

Now that the GOP controls both chambers of Congress and the WH there’s a lot they could do about including attaching starting with attaching serious penalties to violating these “key laws.” But I have reason to doubt anybody including the Donald is going to reign in the out-of-control federal bureaucracy. I just don’t see Trump taking steps to limit the power of the executive branch now that he’s the chief executive. I’m with Auntie Maim.