EPA Regulation Rollbacks and the Fossil Fuel Industry

EPA Regulation Rollbacks and the Fossil Fuel Industry
old oak tree foliage in morning light with sunlight

With the reopening of the country and the world, it is time for the climate-change extremists to get back to work just like everyone else. The Union of Concerned Scientists recently seemed to be particularly up in arms over two things that are closely related. The first being an industry lobbying about issues that concern it, and second being President Trump making good on his promise to do away with unnecessarily burdensome EPA regulations.

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery

“Lobbying and giving money to lobbyists is evil,” they say, but it can easily be translated as, “Lobbying and giving money to lobbyists is evil when it doesn’t align with our ideas.” EnvironmentalScience.org has the following on their website:

The job of an environmental lobbyist involves persuading politicians on the local and national levels, in both the legislative and executive branches of government, to pass laws, policies and regulations for a cleaner environment. An Environmental Lobbyist develops campaigns, advocates, fundraises (emphasis added) and advertises agendas aimed at making a difference on pressing political issues.

It is oxymoronic to berate the very thing you do yourself. But many of these groups live the oxymoronic lifestyle: they make placards and march against fossil fuels while they get to work in cars or on bikes with rubber tires on paved roads, watch television, use smart phones and tablets, are healed with modern hospital equipment, feel good for promoting wind turbines and solar panels that need fossil fuels to be created … I could go on, but I think you get the gist; let’s move on to EPA regulation reform.  

EPA Regulation for “Waters of the United States” Was Clear as Mud

President Trump promised that while in office, he would reduce the burden of many EPA regulations heaped on by the previous administration. He has and continues to fulfill this promise. The EPA was originally created to protect the environment, but over the years it turned into more of a weapon, a weapon of governmental control. Regulations were taken out of the local jurisdiction and made federal. 

This is from The New York Times:

Over the past three years, we have fulfilled President Trump’s promises to provide certainty for states, tribes, and local governments,” a spokeswoman for the E.P.A. said in a statement to The Times, adding that the agency was “delivering on President Trump’s commitment to return the agency to its core mission: Providing cleaner air, water and land to the American people. 

This to me does not sound like the end of a protected environment. Let’s take a look at one example of an EPA reform that came about in January of this year. This reform created a new, more clear definition of “waters of the United States.” Here is how waters of the United States was defined before the reform:

  1. All waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
  2. All interstate waters including interstate wetlands;
  3. All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters:
    1. Which are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes; or
    2. (From which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or
    3. Which are used or could be used for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce;
  4. All impoundments of waters otherwise defined as waters of the United States under this definition;
  5. Tributaries of waters identified in paragraphs (s)(1) through (4) of this section;
  6. The territorial sea;
  7. Wetlands adjacent to waters (other than waters that are themselves wetlands) identified in paragraphs (s)(1) through (6) of this section.

Here is the definition after the reform:

  1. The territorial seas, and waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
  2. Tributaries;
  3. Lakes and ponds, and impoundments of jurisdictional waters; and
  4. Adjacent wetlands.

This gets us back to what that EPA spokesperson said. They are getting back to their original purpose – protecting the environment. When regulations run out of control, they become a hindrance not a help, both for the environment and for those living in it.

Here are just a couple insights from the EPA website on how this particular EPA regulation reform is making a great difference:

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “President Trump is restoring the rule of law and empowering Americans by removing undue burdens and strangling regulations from the backs of our productive farmers, ranchers, and rural land-owners. The days are gone when the Federal Government can claim a small farm pond on private land as navigable waters. I thank President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for having the backs of our farmers, ranchers, and producers and for continuing to roll back Federal overreach. With reforms and deregulation, Americans once again have the freedom to innovate, create, and grow.”

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works  (WY): “President Trump is delivering on his promise to give Americans clean water and clear rules. Regulations must follow the law and be easy for Americans to understand. The Trump administration respects the authority Congress gave EPA under the Clean Water Act. The old WOTUS rule put Washington in control of ponds, puddles, and prairie potholes. The punishing regulation was so confusing that property owners and businesses could not determine when permits were needed. Even worse, it inserted Washington into local decision making. This overreach put unfair restrictions on how farmers, ranchers, and landowners could use their property. I will continue to work closely with the Trump administration as it seeks common sense ways to keep America’s water clean and safe.”

Stop Ignoring the Elephants on the Planet

The clearing and cleaning of EPA regulations work for America because we have one of the cleanest environments on the planet. Fossil fuel companies, particularly those using fracking, are made out as the bad guys in mainstream media, but they are the main reason emissions are falling. Coal is dying out in this country because it is being replaced by more efficient and cleaner natural gas. Instead of focusing on a country that is doing a great job, these environmental extremists need to head to China or India and take a few deep breaths. If they are truly serious about cleaning the planet, they need to start work on the soot-stained streets of the other side of the world.  

Melissa Nichols is the author and illustrator of “Don’t Be Afraid of Climate Change” a book to help children and their parents combat the rising problem of climate-change anxiety and depression.  and depression.  

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