The Environmental Protection Agency has been particularly active when its politically-sensitive agenda has failed to gain support in Congress. In turn, the EPA has interpreted legislative frameworks broadly to impose politically unpalatable ideas by executive fiat. By targeting America’s energy producers, manufacturers and automobile and transportation industries, the EPA’s overreach constitutes some of the most costly regulatory burdens imposed on taxpayers.

Rather than subjecting all regulatory activities to a pure cost-benefit analysis related to the quality of life, goals such as “environmental justice” are paramount to considerations of economic well-being. As such, the resulting policies endanger the country’s economic health.

Worse yet, some of the EPA’s most costly rules are exempt from considering any cost-benefit analysis in final rule makings. Although some measurement of compliance cost is often calculated by the EPA, an analysis of economic growth foregone through the “deadweight loss” of the policy is rarely, if ever, provided.

However, the dangers of EPA rule making go far beyond the excessive costs associated with proposed and final regulatory rules. Analyses of proposed rules systematically fail to take into account the economic impact of regulation, are narrowly tailored to prescribe how businesses must achieve certain policy goals and rarely are they reviewed once in effect.

Importantly, EPA regulations often do not identify a systemic problem. A systemic problem is not an anecdotal accident, but a calculable measurement of risk and expected damage from continuing with the status quo. However, the proposed rule should also reveal that market forces have not or will not take action against the problem.

In conjunction with ATR, the Center works to prevent EPA overreach in consumer regulatory concerns and energy policy.

TAGS: Energy