The EPA: A Study in the Development of Misguided Ideals

While the green culture tends to sanctify virtually all decisions made by the EPA, those of us not living in a tree house recognize this organization borders on becoming just another bureaucratic invention meant to suck the life out of American industry and business. Ask any businessman attempting to grow their business and horrific tales of the EPA’s influence and power inevitably crop up. As the man himself, Newt Gingrich, explains in a recent post on his website, “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has transformed from an agency with the original animating and noble mission of protecting the environment into a job-killing, centralizing engine of ideological litigation and regulation that blocks economic progress at every turn while also frustrating the EPA’s original mission of protecting the environment.”

Worse still, Gingrich quickly points out that the recent rise in unchecked power of this organization largely stems from “environmentally conscious” presidents looking for another way to expand their power. Indeed, the EPA’s influence over the private sector should have most successful American businessmen running scared as our liberal president wields this considerable authority to dictate an astonishingly high number of basic decisions in our lives, extending even as far as what kinds of fuel we can purchase for our vehicles.

Even way back in 2008, when the ethanol craze was still beginning, a Newsweek article explained that skyrocketing food prices had most logical Americans scratching their heads, wondering how smart converting about 20% of our corn crop to fuel really was. Never mind the fact that these companies suffered severe gross profit falls, indicating this “renewable” fuel might not represent the future energy source we envisioned, last year’s 50% jump in corn cost and the global fears over another price surge in foods should indicate to most Americans that devoting one fifth of one of our most valuable crops to fuel might not bode well for those lower income families struggling through the tail end of a recession. Although attractive “grow your own fuel” articles appear all over the internet, especially has gas prices threaten to hit $5 a gallon by the end of the year, at some point it becomes time to decide whether hanging low income families out to dry for the distant possibility of a self-reliant fuel source is advisable.

With such an emphasis on long term goals, like of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, getting in the way of helping the 17.4 million U.S. households that were food insecure at some point in 2009, one must really start to question the truth behind the organization’s slogan that advertises “40 years of protecting health and the environment.” Perhaps an amended statement reading something like “40 years of protecting our agenda” is in order.

With all these misguided actions potentially motivated by ulterior motives, the question then becomes: what should the EPA start regulating? An excellent question, indeed, and for the answer, I revert back to the EPA’s slogan of protecting “health” first, then the “environment.” While the EPA holds a clear emphasis on all things eco-friendly, the health of citizens has largely taken a back seat, as established by our liberal president’s indifference towards families struggling to put food on their tables.

As an alternative to the current course of action, the American people might be better-served if the EPA actually began fulfilling their promise and truly looked out for their health. That pledge could even start in the very place Americans lay their heads each night and raise their families each day: the home. Although the government’s response to many home dangers, such as lead, mercury and radon appear strong, chances are we will not see the EPA attacking these household dangers with any hint of the zeal which they tackle threats to the environment. Despite the recent rise in respiratory and developmental disorders linked to indoor pollutants, the government’s response has typically involved posting some information on their website and offering warnings and disclaimers without proactively seeking out these home threats and helping remove them from homes.

One chemical typifying the EPA’s disconnect with their stated health position is asbestos, a lethal mineral that leads to the development of an incurable cancer called mesothelioma. Unfortunately, mesothelioma symptoms typically remain dormant for decades, sometimes as long as 50 years. However, few Americans can expect help from the EPA, with the best their site has to offer being “suggestions for appropriate remedial action.” Unfortunately, “remedial action” doesn’t apply to this particular pollutant. Even a short period of exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of this disease, which numerous veterans can attest to: around 30% of those diagnosed with this cancer served in the military at some point. Furthermore, mesothelioma life expectancy rivals that of any destructive cancer in terms of its brevity, yet the government still allows its limited use in some construction products.

In their guilty desire to forget these past indiscretions, or perhaps in keeping with our government’s history of failing to fully protect, specific questions regarding the present health of our populace remain absent from the EPA’s dialogue. However, we have only ourselves to blame as young Americans, obediently expecting the ice caps to melt and wash us all away, cling to misguided ideals about industry and the environment. Sure, we’d all love to see pollution ended and yes, ending our reliance on fossil fuels would be tremendous. However, until we start taking a long look at the millions of our neighbors suffering from the neglect of an agency ostensibly out to protect them, these illogical environmental concerns will continue to take precedent, meaning the EPA will continue its disturbing transformation into a misguided, progress-killing bureaucracy intent on putting the protection of swamps above the health of individuals.

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