The EPA, democratic mechanism or environmental dictator?

The EPA has been all over the news recently due to it’s  “clean power plan”. Although diverse groups both praise and condemn the actual plan, few people take the time to analyze the EPA as an organization and more importantly who it serves. The EPA was created through an executive order signed by Richard Nixon in 1970. The agency maintains a cabinet level position, but is not officially in the cabinet. The leaders of the EPA are appointed by the president, not elected by the people. The EPA legally maintains the power to impose regulations upon states, states have the power to impose regulations on localities, and localities have the power to change how individuals such as you and I lead our lives. These broad regulatory powers granted to the EPA have created positive environmental changes from imposing fuel economy standards to promoting CFL light bulbs. However, being a regulatory agency, the EPA maintains the arbitrary power to determine which environmental issues it will attack and which issues it will neglect. The EPA has relatively recently chosen to neglect horizontal gas drilling or “fracking”

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There remains a large amount of disinformation and propaganda from both sides of the “fracking” issue. The burden to discern the facts and regulate this controversial energy source falls upon the EPA, but the EPA does not want to impede upon “fracking” because it is currently working on Obama’s “clean power plan”, which relies heavily upon the growth of natural gas produced through “fracking”. So who does the EPA work for, the desires of the president or the needs of the people?

Let me know,

Sky

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3 Responses to “The EPA, democratic mechanism or environmental dictator?”

  1. I would definitely echo what Kate said about the article being very long and hard to follow. I think I had an extra difficult time reading this one solely because of the government aspect as well. I really find politics and policy extremely confusing and this article sort of had some underlying political influence. I think I understood for the most part, but for some reason my brain just shuts down when policy comes up. Sort of to reiterate the point that because the EPA is a governmental agency, a lot of what they decide has ulterior motives. To answer your question, I feel that in theory, the EPA should be working for the people because the president is working for the people and the EPA is working for the president. However, whether that truly happens is up for debate. I’m really not the person to weigh in on political matters, but I would assume that as president, you’d have somewhat of your own agenda you’d like to see carried out.

  2. I think the EPA itself is a very complex network that is a very large “umbrella” under which many regulatory bodies function. It is clear from both the assigned readings and the student choice article that the EPA generally functions with a high amount of secrecy from the public. This begs the question why. It would appear that the work they do is crucial to our environment, as we live in a capitalist society unchecked regulations on such things that have extreme environmental consequences such as fracking, automobile exhaust, and gasoline quality could lead to increased environmental damage. Your chosen articles attempts to highlight the shortcomings of the EPA. As a governmental agency it is operated with limited resources, or as much resources as government officials deem necessary.

    This article offers a needed perspective of objectively questioning the practices of the EPA. As an article, I found its main shortcoming was a information overload. They mentioned multiple EPA studies from around the country, and not all had clear connections.

    What is clear, however, is the over-arching importance of corporate and monetary interest in the actions and decisions in government associated bodies. If our number one priority is to create jobs and generate money, environmental concerns will take a lower priority.

  3. I would like to start off by saying that the article “EPA’s Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat of Many” by Abrahm Lustgarten was filled with information, but lacked a specific focus to hone in on. There was no nut graph for the piece and the statistics that were listed did not seem to have a huge impact on the piece. I did like the quote that said “I do think there is a difference between data and conclusions” because it made me think in a way that disconnected facts with results. Sometime information is presented, but what is done about that information happens in a non-related way. The article talked about the effects of fracking and was quite detailed, but it lacked a heartfelt humanistic approach that would have taken this piece further.

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