Saturday, January 29, 2011

Newt Gingrich Proposes Abolishing the EPA

Politico reports that Newt Gingrich wants to can the EPA:
Former House speaker and possible 2012 candidate Newt Gingrich called for the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency in a Tuesday speech in Iowa

In an address at the Renewable Fuels Summit, Gingrich told attendees, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a key figure in the state’s first-in-nation Republican presidential caucuses, that the EPA should be replaced with a new “Environmental Solutions Agency.”

The replacement agency “would encourage innovation, incentivize success and emphasize sound science and new technology over bureaucracy, regulation, litigation and restrictions on American energy,” according to materials provided by Gingrich aide Rick Tyler.
Gingrich's website has more:
The EPA should be replaced with a new and improved Environmental Solutions Agency (ESA) complete with a new and improved charter and mission. The new ESA will be a successor agency to the EPA, incorporating the statutory responsibilities of the old EPA while making necessary statutory changes that will eliminate the job-killing regulatory abuses and power grabs of the old EPA.

The new ESA will focus on developing actual solutions to environmental challenges rather than simply trying to litigate them into existence. The ESA will work with industry instead of dictating to industry and incentivize the use of newer technologies instead of punishing current businesses.
The EPA exists for a reason. Certain industries have a habit of creating really big messes, which they won't clean up unless required to by the force of law. But in Gingrich's pristine 21st century, we don't have to deal with any of that mess left over from the 20th century. If we could just "work with industry instead of dictating" we can have our space age future we all read about as kids.

The hard truth is that some polluters have to be forced to clean up after themselves. I don't know whether Gingrich is too naive to recognize this simple truth about human nature, or cynical enough to think that some might actually fall for his vague talk about incentivizing industry to behave. I like the idea of working with business to create a cleaner future, but that can't be done if older, dirtier industries are given a free pass to go on polluting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In many ways, this sounds much like what Governor Markell and DENREC Agency Head O'Mara are doing in Delaware. For the first time DENREC is supposed to be creating jobs, promoting innovative energy, streamlining regulations to be more business friendly, etc. They are being transformed into something totally different, de-emphasing their traditional roles, responsibilities, and statutory mandates. It is unclear if this will work over time. With limited resources they may be undertaking new agendas at the expense of existing proven programs. While we main gain ground on renewable energy, we could loose significant ground on existing environmental protections. We are clearly loosing ground on land conservation, which was zeroed out in the Markell budget. Reorganization may sound great, but is always very difficult, regardless of whether it is proposed by Newt Gingrich or Jack Markell (who sound very similar).

8:15 PM, January 31, 2011  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

The comparison between Jack Markell and Newt Gingrich doesn't hold up to closer examination. Moving ahead on promoting renewable energy has not been accomplished by eliminating the department's tradional role of environmental protection.

DNREC has added only a handful of staff to promote renewable energy. The DNREC head count is budgeted in FY 2012 to go up slightly, from 791 to 795.

DNREC has been persistent in challenging the Delaware River dredging project, despite several court setbacks. And the agreement reached with NRG to shut Units 1, 2 and 3 at Indian River and invest $360 million in controls on Unit 4 will reduce emissions from the plant by more than 90 percent. Delaware's total industrial emissions, as reported in the Toxic Release Inventory will fall by half in the next several years.

I too am sorry to see the land preservation line cut from the capital budget, and hope that it will be at least partially restored.

10:39 AM, February 01, 2011  

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