New Expansive EPA Power Grab

Tait Trussell is a national award-winning writer, former vice-president of the American Enterprise Institute and former Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.


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EPA is keeping a low profile about the study. An agency spokesman was quoted as saying EPA had “no current plans” for the Rio+20 environmental summit next summer. That doesn’t make sense, because the UN summit is mentioned in the Green Book as a case where sustainability is called “a useful framework for addressing otherwise intractable problems [which can be applied to] nearly any situation and anywhere in the world.”

If one wonders what “sustainability” really is, the National Academy advises how the EPA can—one could say–“own” it.

The European Union apparently has. The European strategy, the Fox News story said, “involves a virtually all encompassing regulatory vision.”

Its priorities include: “climate change and clean energy, sustainable transport, sustainable consumption and production, conservation and management of natural resources, public health, social inclusion, demography and migration; and global poverty and sustainable development challenges.” Why not throw in a partridge and pear tree, as well?

In an American context, says the study, sustainable development “raises questions that are not fully or directly addressed in U.S law or policy.” Such as “how to define and control unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and how to encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development, and climate change controls.”

The word “sustainability” is applied not only to human sustainability on Earth, but to many situations and contexts over many scales of space and time, from small local ones to the global balance of production and consumption. It is not necessarily a current situation but a goal for the future, a prediction.

For all these reasons sustainability is perceived, at one extreme, as nothing more than a feel-good buzzword with little meaning or substance. But at the other, as an important but unfocused concept like “liberty” or “justice.” It has also been described as a “dialogue of values that defies consensual definition.”

One root of sustainability is found in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. It says: “The policy of the Federal government is to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”

The big study said the authority needs to be “made up and codified as the agency goes along.” Vision, it said is a future state EPA is “trying to reach or trying to help the country and the world to reach.” Sustainability impact assessment examines “the probable impact of a particular project or proposal on the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability”…a much expanded approach.

Under the new approach, the EPA has to have its finger in the air more than ever trying to predict the future. “Forecasting,” the study said, “is unavoidable when dealing with sustainability.”

It is safe to say that EPA in its high-hat aim intends to become a hugely potent federal agency–the sustainable elephant in the room. so to speak.

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  • Amy Lewis

    The "sustainability" crock is straight out of Agenda 21, and is just another power grab like the Global Warming fraud, and even includes that fraud as one of it's reasons for being. The EPA must be dismantled. It is nothing more than an instrument of tyranny.

  • oldtimer

    EPA has too much power and should be shut down, along with other to powerful agencies.
    There is no global warming. The earth goes thru cycles. And saying that carbon dioxide must be eliminated is pure stupidity. Without carbon dioxide there is no photosynthesis, which in turn means no food.

  • dan

    The EPA: Action arm of the Enviro-Nazis. Next/Now? Gestapo (primarily lawyers and "administrative" judges) and the SS ("Servants" for Sustainability) — guys and gals with guns and locks and chains.

  • scotsirish

    Stalin is proud of you Lisa, very, proud.
    I say you need a good dunking in Holy Water, Witch.

  • mlcblog

    I got news today of a Scandinavian engineering firm buying out another international architectural firm that is already involved in "sustainable" projects. The greenies are really on the march.

  • DeserveLiberty

    The tentacles of "sustainability" are already deeply imbedded and spreading by the purveyors of the official, state mandated American "culture." I recently visited the website of a public university. On the main page of the website, one of the five main menu tabs was titled "Sustainability." Even within a university setting, it is a word of no meaning that is being used as a bludgeon to destroy rational thought and objective academic inquiry. There are few Americans remaining who know how to live as free men, very few who know what that kind of living is like.

  • sod

    The lefts are worrying too much, Iran and Islam will induce more damage to the world than the weather would ever do.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    After obama and his gang are ousted the next President must insist that all
    of the leftist subversives in government jobs be fired, we will not survive as
    and American people with culture and heritage, nor be economically able to
    sustain life unless these people are gone and gone forever…………….William

  • Marti

    I do not understand how our congressmen and women can not do a thing to stop this bunch of NAZIS!!!!
    Is our government so corrupt to allow these people to destroy our once great nation?
    I am so sick of the lies and deceptions of them all.Both parties are guilty of allowing all the power to go to the executive branch of government.
    No one at the top is held responsible for the devastation of this country.