Posted by Curt on 2 June, 2015 at 10:42 pm. 3 comments already!


William Yeatman:

EPA’s CWA rule: For the kidz

Plainly, the Obama administration has politicized the Environmental Protection Agency to an unprecedented degree.

Take, for example, the unseemly nexusbetween the agency and green special interests. Environmental groups like Sierra Club and NRDC spent untold resources getting President Obama elected; in turn, they were given the run of the mill at the EPA.

Of course, special interest regulatory capture is merely a variant of old-fashioned spoils politics, but the agency also evinces a more contemporary obsession with political “optics.” Consider the “strategic communications” memo unearthed by my colleague Chris Horner. Early in the Obama administration, the memo was circulated among EPA heavies—including Richard Windsor—and it makes the ultra-cynical case that the agency should justify its impending climate regulatory regime on the basis of asthmatic children instead of climate change, because no one cares about polar ice caps. Very slick.

We got more of the same last week when EPA promulgated a regulation that vastly expands federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The rule’s roll out was obviously focus-group tested.  

For starters, there’s the rule’s name. Originally, it was the “Waters of the U.S. Rule.” However, the final rule goes by the name “Clean Water Rule.” See what they did there? The old name evoked federal authority, which is appropriate, because the rule is a naked power grab. On the other hand, the new and improved name connotes clean water—and who could possibly disagree with that?

Yet the rule’s renaming is thin soup relative to the agency’s repeated intimation that the purity of the country’s drinking water hangs in the balance. Indeed, if you believed the agency’s press materials attendant to the rule, you’d think that EPA adopted the regulation in order to arrest a clear and present danger to the safety of your tap water.

From the press release:

People need clean water for their health: About 117 million Americans – one in three people – get drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before the Clean Water Rule.

From the fact sheet:

About 117 million Americans–one in three people–get drinking water from streams that were vulnerable to pollution before the Clean Water Rule.

This is, as my colleague Myron Ebell noted in an email yesterday, total BS, due to the simple fact that the sole purpose of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which EPA also administers, is to protect drinking water.

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