Reining in the EPA


It is the enemy within, made up of powerful Americans atop the federal government pretending to respect American principles even as they say, “Go away, Congress, leave us alone, courts, we are everything.” They make and execute most of the rules, and they’ve had it with all the whining about liberty, democratic fundamentals, legislative rights and constitutional safeguards.

Various names are given to this mushrooming, revolutionary phenomenon. It is called the administrative state, unilateral rule, the executive branch gone awry or, more imaginatively, the federal bureaucracy on amphetamines.

One way to describe it is a government relying ever more on barely inhibited regulatory overkill to make everything run right while actually causing everything to quit running. There is also a handy way to illustrate the worst of it with just three words or even just three letters. The three words are Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA.

It is a 1970s creation born of a growing awareness of ways in which our industrial society was doing battle with the glory of nature, sustainable resources and human health. Along with states and localities, it did enormous good, especially in cleaning up air and water. But it also came to assume a religiously dogmatic demeanor in which it was mostly answerable only to itself.

It figured its cause was so sacred that it was allowed to cheat, connive, bully and play games with science.

Now there’s a solution. His name Scott Pruitt. He is Oklahoma’s attorney general, a brilliant lawyer and President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the EPA. The greenie extremists are shaking like leaves in a hurricane because he is a states’ rights kind of guy and has fought powerfully against EPA overreaching. He put together a coalition of other state attorneys general and he got the Supreme Court to say nothing doing to pushing ahead with the controversial, Obama-backed Clean Power Plan until courts had reviewed it.