Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Protection Agency’

The government ordered us to say this, lead paint abatement edition

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the renovation of homes and other buildings containing lead paint and other hazards, and it recently went after a high-profile pair of violators, namely Chip and Joanna Gaines of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, for not following its rules in renovations shown on the show. “In addition to the fines and cleanup costs, the [EPA] settlement instructed Chip Gaines to discuss lead safety in an episode of the show and promote it on social media.” [Umair Irfan, Vox]

Environmental journalism, brought to you by the EPA

I like advocacy journalism as well as the next fellow — at least I consume a lot of it as a reader. That doesn’t mean the federal government should be funding it, thereby giving a boost to one side of environmental debates in the mid-Atlantic region. My new piece for the DC Examiner examines the Environmental Protection Agency’s longstanding subsidies for the influential Chesapeake Bay Journal.

Environment roundup

EPA swears off collusive settlements

My new Cato post applauds administrator Scott Pruitt for breaking with past Environmental Protection Agency policy under which it has settled not-necessarily-adversarial lawsuits by agreeing to issue regulations (dubbed by critics “sue and settle“). Pruitt’s new steps toward transparency and public access are welcome but easily reversed by a successor, which is “why Congress should proceed to consider legislation to curb sweetheart pacts on a more lasting basis.”

Land use and environment roundup

They fought the EPA and the EPA won

From John Ross’s Short Circuit newsletter for the Institute for Justice, Mar. 10: “Allegation: EPA agents lead armed raid of Casper, Wyo. laboratory based on false accusation from former employee, an 18 year old, that the lab falsified water-quality records. Five years later, case dismissed against former lab owners without charges. They sue the EPA. District court: It’s too late to sue; the two-year statute of limitations started running when you lost the lab. Tenth Circuit: Actually, you couldn’t have even sued then because sovereign immunity.” [Garling v. EPA]

Environment roundup

  • Power to regulate interstate commerce includes power to keep property owner from evicting a prairie dog? Sounds rational to Tenth Circuit [Ilya Shapiro and David McDonald]
  • Dimock, Pa. episode was central to anti-fracking lore including movie “Gasland,” now judge has overturned $4 million verdict in case [Timothy Cama, The Hill]
  • “EPA Employees Organize Against Taxpayers” [NPR via David Boaz on Twitter]
  • Sweetheart consent decrees (“sue and settle”) enable agencies to bypass notice-and-comment rulemaking in adopting controversial rules, as with EPA natural gas plant rule [WLF]
  • Judge rebukes Delaware Riverkeeper in FERC pipeline case [Erin Mundahl, Inside Sources]
  • On the way out, President Obama designated vast tract of Atlantic ocean as “monument,” forbidding commercial fishing. Irrational as policy, as law, and as procedure [Jonathan Wood]

POTUS reopens WOTUS

On Tuesday President Trump signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen the rulemaking process to reconsider its assertion of jurisdiction during the Obama years over large tracts of land remote from navigable water. “The regulation, known as the Waters of the U.S. rule, broadened the definition of the type of water body that would fall under EPA’s formidable clean water enforcement powers, making everything from streams to ditches and watering holes subject to the EPA’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ oversight.” [Washington Examiner; Jonathan Adler]

Good. This was an outrageous regulatory power grab. If Congress decides that it has some Constitutional authority to seize control over seasonal moist depressions on farmland, it should say so explicitly. And if it does, it might want to prepare to set aside large sums under the Fifth Amendment, which states that “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

“At least 32 states have sued to prevent the new regulations from taking effect, and the Sixth Federal Appeals Circuit Court stayed the new rules in October, 2016.” [Ronald Bailey, Reason] When you manage to tick off 32 states badly enough for them to sue, you might have gone out on a limb. More: AP, Jonathan Wood.

Environment roundup

  • “Rockefeller Foundations Enlist Journalism in ‘Moral’ Crusade Against ExxonMobil” [Ken Silverstein] Massachusetts was using courts to investigate heretics back before the oil industry was even whale oil [Reuters on subpoena ruling] Washington Post shouldn’t have run Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on climate politics without noting his brutal efforts to subpoena/silence opponents on that topic;
  • “Should you go to jail if you can’t recognize every endangered species?” [Jonathan Wood]
  • Sandy Ikeda reviews Robert H. Nelson, Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government [Market Urbanism]
  • D.C. Circuit shouldn’t let EPA get away again with ignoring cost of power plant regs [Andrew Grossman on Cato amicus brief]
  • Under what circumstances should libertarians be willing to live with eminent domain in the construction of energy pipelines? [Ilya Somin and earlier] Economic benefits of fracking are $3.5 trillion, according to new study [Erik Gilje, Robert Ready, and Nikolai Roussanov, NBER via Tyler Cowen]
  • “Dramatically simpler than the old code…[drops] mandates for large amounts of parking.” Buffalo rethinks zoning [Aaron Renn, City Journal] Arnold Kling on California’s housing shortage; John Cochrane on an encouraging Jason Furman op-ed; “Zoning: America’s Local Version Of Crony Capitalism” [Scott Beyer]