Old naval ships go to a boneyard when they have outlived their usefulness. Have you seen the boneyard for old government agencies to go when they outlive their purpose? No? I didn’t think so, since only a handful of the numerous agencies in the history of our government have ever been disbanded.
Instead, they dream up “new challenges” or “necessary services” to keep themselves in existence. Once established, agencies never go away. They only seek to expand their sphere of influence and power over us. Nowhere is there a more glaring example of this than the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA was formed in December 1970 by the Nixon administration. At the time there was justifiable concern over increasing pollution. The EPA targeted air and water pollution and actually did a credible job carrying out its mandate. Today’s air and water are both cleaner as a result. Most of the regulatory oversight they started now lies with the states so they presumably have little to do.
So did EPA declare a job well done and disband? Of course not. Instead, the agency launched a more dictatorial campaign toward mandating ever more minute measures of pollutants. Case in point is their war on municipal drinking water. Established health standards that determined safe levels of the various minerals in drinking water had been in place for years. In order to create more control, EPA changed the acceptable limits of many of these naturally occurring substances without any scientific measure or testing. They simply changed a few numbers on a word processor somewhere.
Suddenly water that had met safe drinking standards for years was unacceptable. Keep in mind that nearly all of these substances are measured in parts per million (ppm) and are only detectable through laboratory testing. Most are under 5 ppm. This is the same as 5 or less ounces of the substance in a million gallons of water. Nevertheless, EPA created more work for itself by these changes. They also created significant hardship on small towns across America who suddenly had to build multi-million dollar processing plants to meet these arbitrary requirements.
A recent court decision also gave EPA purview over managing carbon dioxide. Somehow carbon dioxide is now bad. Never mind that all mammals exhale it as a byproduct of metabolism. Never mind that in a unique symbiosis plants utilize it for photosynthesis. It is now so bad it must be regulated.
Here are some of those pesky facts that get in the way of a good crisis. The earth’s atmosphere is made up of several elements. This comes from a fairly recent symposium. Think of a football field. The first seventy eight yards is made up of nitrogen. Oxygen is next and takes you to the 99-yard line. The next most common gas is argon. That leaves remaining in this vast atmosphere about 3.5 inches. Out of that 3.5 inches carbon dioxide takes up about 1 inch.
Carbon dioxide has been increasing over the last 50 years. How much? By about three-eighths of one inch. Yes, the width of a pencil on a football field is suddenly in need of regulation at massive cost and is somehow supposed to cause a huge change in global climate. EPA, you had better check your data.
But it doesn’t end there. EPA is now attempting to regulate all water in the U.S. through the Clean Water Act. They have developed a map that they tried to keep secret but was finally released to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He recently made it public.
EPA currently has authority over navigable waterways, like the Carson River. The Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS, cute huh) map shows the EPA expanding by declaring authority over any tributary of a navigable waterway, no matter how small. If implemented, that means that every ditch and drain in the Newlands Project will be subject to EPA oversight. They would also have free rein to declare any area they wanted as a wetland.
This should concern everyone. Every draw, swale, or intermittent creek in Nevada could fall under their heavy hand. I urge you to check for yourself. You can see the maps at http://science.house.gov/epa-maps-state-2013. They may take a while to download.
If you’re concerned, you can submit comments to “Ditch the Rule” by going to http://tinyurl.com/wotus-comments. You either use the existing comments or add your own. Please take the time to do this.
Tom Riggins is an LVN columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org