by Mark Angelides
After 30 years in the Environmental Protection Agency, Elizabeth “Betsy” Southerland has quit her post in a rejection of the direction the agency is taking under Administrator, Scott Pruitt. Whilst the media are having a field day with the news, it’s important to remember that Southerland had a hand in some of the most wasteful, damaging policies that have come out of the EPA in recent decades.
If we look back to the beginning of her time in the EPA, scandals regarding the use of “near criminal” science and “fraudulent” data are rife. Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.) said that “It (the EPA) cooks the books with great vigor.” And that they are using information to create expensive policy that has been put out by a scientist who “cooked the books” and performed “criminally fraudulent work.”
The 1990 study into Acid Rain (NAPAP) was not only expensive (half a billion dollars) and grandiose, it was also buried. When the real facts emerged that acid rain was not responsible for acidity in lakes, they sat on it until AFTER the Clean Air Act was passed. The Act was passed largely due to EPA recommendations, but the “buried” study actually disputed their recommendation.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act managed to shut down 150 companies around the country at an estimated (in today’s money) cost of $1 Trillion, based on the idea that it would cut masses of cases of cancer…The studies actually show that it was likely to have prevented ONE case of cancer.
Southerland states in her resignation letter that: “the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth.” “The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities.”
This is a fairly typical statement from the EPA; they merge opinion with tenuous fact and cry “outrage” when questioned on the validity of their science. But it seems the real venom was reserved for a policy that almost all Americans agree on…That of “one rule in, two rules out”. She wrote: “Should EPA repeal two existing rules protecting infants from neurotoxins in order to promulgate a new rule protecting adults from a newly discovered liver toxin?” “Faced with such painful choices, the best possible outcome for the American people would be regulatory paralysis where no new rules are released so that existing protections remain in place.”
It is worth remembering that under the Obama Administration, almost 4,000 new regulations were introduced via the EPA, most of which have yet to show any discernible benefits for either the environment or humans.
A spokesman for the EPA suggested that Southerland’s resignation was more to do with her opportunity to begin collecting a pension than with any firmly held beliefs. The EPA is bloated and full of its own self-importance; when did it become ok to introduce regulations that impact millions of people based on nothing more than an agenda?
by Mark Angelides