An EPA Reality Check

Echoing the Republican agenda, conservative media have relentlessly pushed the narrative that the Environmental Protection Agency is “out of control” and “strangling America.” The agency charged with enforcing America's clean air and clean water laws has been painted as an insatiable “job-killing machine.”

On Fox News, for instance, Lou Dobbs has said “EPA is an ideological -- it's an apparatus. As it's being run now, it could be part of the Apparatchik of the Soviet Union, seriously, forty years ago. Because they through regulation are carrying out doctrine and policy.”

The reality looks more like this:


EPA has delayed, relaxed, or cancelled at least nine rules this year. In many of these cases, the agency opted to adjust standards after extensive consultation with the regulated industry.

As the Congressional Research Service has explained, many of the EPA rules under the Obama administration “began development under the Bush Administration, including several that were promulgated under that Administration and subsequently were vacated or remanded to EPA by the courts.”

In fact, the EPA administrator under the George H.W. Bush administration acknowledged that many new regulations are the result of court deadlines and delays from previous administrations, stating, “They're like little hand grenades that have been rolled out there by previous administrators, and now they're ticking.”

Energy industry executives have said that clean air rules are attainable, and that “for over a decade, companies have recognized that the industry would need to install controls.” In response to a Wall Street Journal editorial, executives from several major power companies added: “Contrary to the claims that the EPA's agenda will have negative economic consequences, our companies' experience complying with air quality regulations demonstrates that regulations can yield important economic benefits, including job creation, while maintaining reliability.”