Earth Day, the EPA and Regulatory Tyranny
Liberty and Free Enterprise in the Balance
Earth Day is about economic centralization, not environmental protection.
“I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic.” —James Madison (1789)
Three decades ago, our nation was emerging from the previous deep Democrat-induced recession. After his election in 1980, Ronald Reagan set about to implement free-enterprise economic policies to restart the world’s most powerful economic engine. In addition to those policies, President Reagan endeavored to unshackle the economy from “unjust, oppressive and impolitic” regulations, and the net result was the longest and strongest sustained period of economic growth in U.S. history.
One of the regulatory behemoths the Reagan administration reined in was the Environmental Protection Agency. Reagan was not an opponent of sound policies to encourage environmental conservation and preservation. In fact, he was an outdoorsman at heart and declared, “Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, it’s common sense.” But he was a staunch foe of regulatory abuse as outlined in his Economic Bill of Rights.
The EPA, which began as a seemingly well-intentioned 1970 regulatory proposal by Richard Nixon, has morphed into the most invasive regulatory agency ever created. Indeed, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Within a few years of its formation, the EPA’s first administrator, William Ruckelshaus, outlined the agency’s mandate declaring it had “a broad responsibility for research, standard-setting, monitoring and enforcement with regard to five environmental hazards; air and water pollution, solid waste disposal, radiation, and pesticides.”
The key words were “broad responsibility,” and the EPA’s mandate rapidly exceeded anything ever envisioned or authorized. Of course, that expansion is the “unintended consequence” of every agency established by Congress.
In the same year Nixon proposed the EPA, Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) initiated the first “Earth Day” as an annual “teach-in,” ostensibly about environmental conservation, but with the underlying motive of building support for EPA regulations to constrain the economy. (Nelson’s Earth Day co-founder, Ira Einhorn, does not get mentioned much anymore after he murdered his ex-girlfriend and composted her remains in his closet.)
For the record, “conservation” is not a bad word; it shares the same root word as “conservative.” And my family makes every effort to wisely utilize energy and resources because the principle of “waste not, want not” is good practice.
However, the Left’s “Earth Day” political charade and the EPA’s regulatory tyranny prove far more insidious than just “conservation.” They leverage environmental concerns to conceal their real agenda — the constriction of free enterprise. Their objective is to incrementally implement centralized economic control through regulatory requirements justified by ever-expanding “mandates.”
It’s no coincidence that Nelson founded “Earth Day” on April 22, 1970, the centenary of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s birthday.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the dawn of Earth Day and the EPA.
Despite the containment of EPA overreach during the 1980s, the agency and its leftist protagonists have now invaded virtually every area of our lives — from limiting our toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush to outlawing incandescent light bulbs, and countless other regulations that will ultimately ensure the death of Liberty by 10,000 cuts.
While regulation of toilet water and light bulbs may seem harmless enough, the EPA mandates associated with the so-called “climate change” agenda are anything but. Recall that “climate change” was formerly referred to as “global warming,” for much the same reason that “progressive” was formally referred to as “liberal” — deceptive marketing.
Recall, too, that the grand potentate of the modern envirofascist movement was ignoble laureate Albert Arnold Gore, who launched these hot-air histrionics with his 1992 book, “Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit.”
Gore has amassed a fortune through his shamelessly unscientific hucksterism and subsequent “green” investments, not to mention the $500 million sale of his Current TV network interest in 2013 to al-Qa'ida, I mean Al Jazeera.
His bishopric of eco-theologists has amassed a large and growing cult of earth-worshiping Gorons, lemming-like adherents to his teachings on the end times ahead. Of course, Gore’s real agenda was no different than that of Nelson and his earlier Earth Day farce: Employ populist environmental demagoguery as cover for socialist economic centralization.
Christopher Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, aptly described Gore as “green on the outside, red to the core,” noting that his environmental concerns are a thinly veiled subterfuge for his socialist agenda.
While Albert Gore laid the foundation for this subterfuge, Barack Obama and the current leaders of his Socialist Democratic Party have masterfully united all global weather phenomena under one ubiquitous umbrella: “Climate Change.” And the new orthodoxy insists that warming, cooling, drenching, drying and all other variants of weather manifestations are the direct result of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, which must be regulated.
There’s no small irony in that regulatory claim, given humans emit CO2 during the process of respiration.
Given that spring has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, temperatures will rise in the months ahead, as will the overheated rhetoric about global warming — I mean “climate change.”
Accordingly, in his Earth Day message this week, Obama declared, “Climate change can no longer be denied or ignored. … 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.” But in fact, that claim is also a lie — and you can read why here. Of course, Obama is a very accomplished liar.
The planet may be warming, though that is certainly debatable. Regardless, the question isn’t so much if the planet is warming, but why it might be warming. Obama claims it’s all about CO2, and he arrogantly repeats the anti-scientific Leftist lie that “the science is settled.” In fact, it is no more settled than our capability to collect accurate data, and there is no CO2 consensus.
Commenting on the misuse of science to support Leftist political agendas, Malcolm Ross, whose capacity for reason has not been unduly restrained by his Harvard PhD, concludes, “Freeze or fry, the problem is always industrial capitalism, and the solution is always international socialism.”
Obama amped up the rhetoric, blaming “stronger storms, deeper droughts and longer wildfire seasons” on anthropogenic activity. Notably, he also claimed “our carbon pollution has fallen by 10 percent since 2007.” Unfortunately, much of that decline in carbon output is due to Obama’s failed economic policies, but what struck me about this statement is that if CO2 output has dropped by 10 percent, why was last year the warmest ever, according to Obama?
If CO2 does have some measurable impact on global temperatures, then the answer to that question is that as U.S. output has decreased, Asian and Indian output has increased. Even if we assume that anthropogenic activity has a statistically significant impact on global temperatures — versus solar and orbital variations — China and India are no more going to cut back their CO2 production in accordance with treaties than Iran is going to cut its nuke program in accordance with treaties.
Make no mistake, Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose a much greater threat to our climate than CO2.
Here in the U.S., Obama has justified enormous economic manipulation in the name of “climate change,” including limits on ANWR oil exploration, his war on coal, his ethanol boondoggle, his veto of the Keystone XL pipeline, his EPA mandates on states, his EPA enforced “Clean Power Plan,” ad infinitum.
And let’s not leave out Obama’s pledge to the UN that the U.S. will reduce its CO2 emissions by another 15 percent before 2025. This, despite the fact that the U.S. now uses less energy to produce a dollar of real GDP than at any time in history.
Continuing his Earth Day accusations, Obama insisted that the drought in California is also due to “climate change.” Yeah, I know, that falls into the “keen sense of the obvious” category, but remember: By “climate change” Obama means “too much free enterprise.”
Fact is, the Golden State’s drought could be significantly alleviated if not for EPA regulations that, according to The Wall Street Journal, “require that about 4.4 million acre-feet of water — enough to sustain 4.4 million families and irrigate one million acres of farmland — be diverted to ecological purposes.” In this case, the “ecological purposes” include protection of the Delta smelt, a two-inch fish that is little more than a minnow.
And so, while millions of Californians are absorbing the terrible costs and consequences of one EPA regulation, a small business next to our publishing operation here in Tennessee is confronting the costs and consequences of another EPA regulation.
My friend Erick, who owns a popular restaurant in our community, Talus, employs 13 young people, including one “special needs” individual. However, when we walked over for lunch last week, his restaurant was closed. He left a rather pointed note on the door explaining that, because some bureaucrat at EPA set a different bar for waste water, he may be forced to replace his current grease trap, which met the previous specs, with a new system that will cost $15-20,000. If he’s unable to appeal that decree, it will put him permanently out of business — and his employees out of work.
Beyond the devastating economic impact of the EPA’s regulations, there is the cost of compliance — the enormous “hidden tax” on all consumers. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s latest edition of “Ten Thousand Commandments” notes, “The costs for Americans to comply with federal regulations reached $1.863 trillion in 2013. That is more than the GDPs of Canada or Australia.” And this year, CEI estimates the regulatory cost will rise to $1.882 trillion.
Obama closed his Earth Day remarks by saying, “It’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders.” On the contrary, it’s about promoting the regulatory state. And it’s certainly not about protecting our God-given natural rights.
Happy Earth Day! Insert Smiley Face Here!
Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis