(National Sentinel) Downsizing: Since taking office one of POTUS Donald Trump’s priorities has been to rid the country of excessive regulations that stifle growth and cost consumers and businesses many tens of billions of dollars every year, without any benefit to the country.
The Environmental Protection Agency is especially guilty of imposing these kinds of regulations, but under the president’s guidance and leadership, the agency is set to end one of its most costly practices.
In the past, the EPA gamed the regulatory process so the agency could impose costly rules — some of the highest-priced regulations in U.S. history, in fact — by using a “co-benefits” (indirect benefits) rationale when it came to reducing emissions of another pollutant, fine particulate matter.
Through this rationale, the EPA has, in the past, justified inane rules though there was little, if any, real benefit as a result of imposing it.
Now, the Trump administration is set to end that practice.
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The Western Journal reported:
The EPA is going to recalculate the costs and benefits of a controversial rule known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule for Power Plants, the so-called “MATS rule.” As reported, this co-benefits abuse will not be employed in a new cost-benefit analysis.
When the EPA finalized the MATS rule in 2012, it didn’t bother to consider costs when deciding whether to regulate mercury emissions. This led to a Supreme Court case, Michigan vs EPA, challenging the agency’s failure to consider whether the rule was “appropriate and necessary,” as required under the Clean Air Act.
In 2015, the court held that the EPA, because of that “appropriate and necessary” language, must consider costs.
Writing for the majority, the late Justice Antonin Scalia said that “[a]gainst the backdrop of this established administrative practice [consideration of cost], it is unreasonable to read an instruction to an administrative agency to determine whether ‘regulation is appropriate and necessary’ as an invitation to ignore costs.”
Actually, the EPA did offer an annual cost estimate for reducing mercury emissions — $4 million to $6 million. But in actuality, the cost was $9.6 billion.
Scalia noted “[t]he costs to power plants were thus between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants.”
As the high court observed, “[n]o regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”
The good thing is the Trump administration is set to address this scandalous rationale, the Washington Post reported:
[A]cting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the EPA is focused on producing analyses that capture the specific impact of a rule—in this case, mercury—rather than the accompanying benefits that stem from installing new pollution controls on equipment.
“I just think it’s a little fuzzy math when you say, ‘Reduce mercury, and we have all these other benefits over here,’ as the shiny object,” Wheeler said, adding that the agency could still consider other benefits, but should categorize them separately.
Mind you, none of this would be necessary were the federal government not so large and overbearing. One of the reasons why there are so many more federal court cases today than 50-60 years ago is because there are so many more federal agencies.
Entire new case law dealing with environmental issues alone has been created in that time, leading to scores of cases every year. Through in the Departments of Education, Labor, Agriculture, Energy, etc., and you can begin to appreciate why the federal courts are so jam-packed with cases.
By rolling back onerous regulations and taking away federal agencies’ ability to game the system, the Trump administration reduce costs to consumers and the economy as well as the ability of federal courts to essentially make law.
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