Is EPA using toxic arguments to protect itself?

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In testimony before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claimed that cuts to the EPA’s budget would devastate both the country’s land and water and the health of its people.

Her assertions were made in response to proposals from both the Obama administration and House Republicans to cut her agency’s budget. The Obama administration wants to cut the EPA’s budget from $10.3 billion in the present fiscal year to $9.0 billion in the next fiscal year. Republican congressmen have proposed cuts of more than $3 billion.

Ms. Jackson’s testimony often strained credulity. Among her claims, according to Reuters, were that better enforcement of present clean air and water laws would save $20 trillion in U.S. health care costs over the next nine years and that it would prevent more than two million deaths from heart attacks and other pollution-related health effects.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross is curious where these remarkable figures come from. “My guess,” he says, “is that somewhere in the EPA maze, their statisticians made a computer model, then chose some outlier statistic and multiplied that by a factor of a hundred or a thousand. It’s not so different from the methods they use to calculate reference doses for the toxicity of drugs tested on rodents.”

The question of whether the agency is getting increasingly far afield from its original mission of protecting the environment — as well as from simple common sense — is brought further to the fore by its recently proposed “boiler rule”. One study by the American Forest & Paper Association concluded that full implementation of that proposal would cost the country almost 16,900 jobs, 14% of the present U.S. employment in that industry. Negative reaction to the proposal prompted an agency re-think in which it admitted that it “failed to understand fully certain issues associated with the affected sources.”

We wonder: Perhaps we might all benefit from a watchdog agency to protect us from the increasingly toxic environmental “protection” agenda of the EPA?