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By Harold Pease Ph. D

“The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” This one sentence, proposed law H.R. 861, is probably the shortest and most direct ever proposed in U.S. History. It was introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz February 3, and is presently working its way through four committees: Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science, Space, and Technology. If passed it will save taxpayers over eight billion dollars a year and send over 15,000 employees looking for new jobs.

Congressman Gaetz wrote defending his bill, “Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans. It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”

But those who oppose the bill, like hornets swarming out of a disturbed hornets nest, are those who benefit from the Agency, the 15,000 with its passage soon to be looking for new jobs, profiting corporations, Hollywood activists, and big government advocates both Democrat and Republican—essentially the biggest donors in elections. A quick look on the Internet shows the hornets coming with every gun in the arsenal (even they believe in gun rights as long as they have all the guns), and they do, even the establishment media and socialized universities. Without huge public support career politicians will fold on this one.

Congressman Gaetz wrote, “states and local communities are best positioned to responsibly regulate the environmental assets within their jurisdictions.” He is right but he has a stronger argument, the Constitution does not list (Article I, Section 8) the environment as a federal function of government. By not being listed, it automatically remains a state, county and city prerogative (Amendment 10). If environmentalists want such power they must use Amendment V, which requires any new power to get 3/4ths of the state conventions to move the power from the states to the federal government so that it can be listed with the other federal powers.

Power grabbers, of both major political parties, do not like these parts of the Constitution because they rightfully do not allow them to do anything they wish. Moreover, the EPA was never enacted by Congress as required in Article I, Section 1 “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….”, no exceptions. It was nothing more than an Executive Order penned by then Republican Richard Nixon, December 2, 1970.

Years ago in visiting with a local contractor I learned that his biggest obstacle in providing reasonably priced middleclass housing for the community was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He told me that in a $300,000 home approximately one-third of that cost was fulfilling the myriad of rules that were mandated by this organization. He took time to share some of those with me. They were so unreasonable and without them I could have saved $100,000 on a new home. Without his willingness to go through these hoops there would be few single-family homes older than the sixties in this modest oil-town community.

He was a modest, unassuming good man, not the corporate polluter, toxic dumping and public land rapist that the extreme environmentalists portray developers. After five years of hearings battling the EPA over a single endangered flower that had popped up on his property next to a public park, he finally received permission to build.

Once construction workers, attempting to update an elementary school, found in a distant part of the schoolyard a kit fox den. All work stopped for at least six months while school authorities worked through the web of EPA rules before they could proceed. Costs mushroomed and human needs, even for children, were immediately placed on hold for an animal that locals knew was not really endangered. I used to tell my students that if they wanted an eye-opening experience just drive through the allies at night; they would see a kit fox before they saw a common cat.

The problem ended when those trying to get the school functioning again were allowed to purchase a kill permit. Yes, a kill permit, and the animal presumably protected because it was on an endangered list, was killed anyway. To obtain a kill permit the property owner is required to purchase land elsewhere, sometimes three times as large, next to a reserve and donate that property to the reserve. There is no attempt made to capture the offending animal or transplant the unwanted flower to another place. That would be too practical and reasonable for the government.

What I have shared is common knowledge to ninety percent of those over 30 and not associated with a college or university. Indeed, I have never met a defender of the EPA outside the latter category. Colleges are too often havens for teachers teaching, and students learning, that only the federal government can or will protect the environment and that states, counties or cities are too influenced by corporations and developers to do the job. The opposite is true. States have far more incentive in protecting their back yard than do unelected bureaucrats living 2,000 miles away that are not personally impacted by the rules they impose on others. The Constitution automatically protects us from these people if we will let it. Does your Congressman support H.R. 861?

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.