Rolling back environmental progress?

Having achieved major goals, US should refocus EPA and other environmental agencies

now-panic-and-rollbackGuest essay by Paul Driessen

Donald Trump plans to “roll back progress” on climate change, energy and the environment, activists, regulators and their media allies assert. The claim depends on one’s definition of “progress.”

These interest groups define “progress” as ever-expanding laws, regulations, bureaucracies and power, to bring air and water emissions of every description down to zero, to prevent diseases that they attribute to manmade pollutants and forestall “dangerous manmade climate change.” Achieving those goals requires controlling nearly every facet of our economy, industries, lives, livelihoods and living standards.

If we are talking about halting and reversing this unbridled federal control, President-Elect Trump has promised to roll “progress” back – and not a moment too soon, if we are to rejuvenate our economy.

Federal land, resource and environmental agencies have unleashed tsunamis of regulations in recent years, and President Obama is poised to issue many more before January 20. The total cost of complying with federal rules was about $1 trillion annually in 2006. It has since doubled, raising the federal reporting and compliance burden to $6,000 per person per year, through late-2016.

The Obama Administration has thus far imposed some $743 billion of those new costs, via 4,432 new rules requiring 754 million hours of paperwork, according to a new American Action Forum analysis. The $2 trillion cumulative annual tab is more than all federal individual and corporate taxes collected in 2015; includes 10 billion hours dealing with paperwork; and does not include state or local regulations. Land use and environmental compliance costs account for a sizable and growing portion of this total.

These costs hogtie innovation, job creation and economic growth. They make millions unemployed.

So let us examine “progress” against two other standards: (1) pollution reductions to date; and (2) the validity of claims used to justify ever more burdensome and expensive environmental regulations.

We can never have zero pollution. The laws of diminishing returns increasingly come into play: getting rid of the last 10% can cost as much as eliminating the initial 90% and is rarely needed. And we cannot control nature’s pollution: volcanoes, forest fires, poisonous algae blooms, deep ocean vents, erosion of rocks bearing mercury and other toxic substances, and other sources.

However, we can reach the point where remaining pollutants pose few or no health risks – and we have largely done so. Since 1970, America’s cars have eliminated nearly 99% of pollutants that once came out of tailpipes, notes Air Quality in America co-author Joel Schwartz. Refiners have eliminated lead from gasoline and reduced its sulfur content by some 95% – while coal-fired power plants now remove 80-95% of the particulates, mercury, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide that they emitted in 1970.

Asthma may be rising, but it’s certainly not because of pollution rates that have fallen dramatically.

Water quality has also skyrocketed. Along the river where I grew up in Wisconsin, a dozen pairs of bald eagles now nest where there were none when I was a kid, when you couldn’t eat the fish or swim in the polluted water. The same thing happened across the USA. Other problems remain to be addressed.

As President-Elect Trump has quipped, “It used to be that cars were made in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now our cars are made in Mexico, and you can’t drink the water in Flint.”

That’s because local officials and the USEPA didn’t do their jobs – didn’t monitor or fix failing, corroded lead water pipes. Repairing Flint’s system, and addressing water and sewer problems in other cities, will cost billions of dollars. If we are forced to spend tens or hundreds of billions on exaggerated, fabricated or imaginary risks, there will be little left to resolve our remaining real health problems.

Let us celebrate our progress, and turn our attention to real problems that still must be corrected. Let us also examine claims used to justify regulations – and roll back rules that don’t pass scientific muster.

EPA insists that saving fuel and reducing pollution from now super-clean vehicles requires that cars and light trucks get 54.5 mpg by 2025. But achieving this will force people to drive smaller, lighter, more plasticized, less safe cars – and millions more will be maimed and killed. EPA doesn’t mention that, or acknowledge that fracking ensures another century of oil and gasoline: time to devise new energy sources.

Above all, though, the Environmental Protection Agency’s reason for being, for wanting to steadily expand its budget and personnel, for seeking to regulate our farms, factories, homes and energy supplies, for trying to drive entire industries into bankruptcy – is its assertion that humans are causing catastrophic climate change, thereby endangering human health and welfare. The claims do not withstand scrutiny.

Even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise – spurring plant growth worldwide – except during the strong 2015-16 El Niño, average global temperatures have remained steady for 18 years. Polar and Greenland ice caps, sea levels, hurricanes, floods and droughts refuse to behave in accord with climate chaos claims, computer model predictions, or EPA and Obama White House assertions.

Meanwhile, as EPA moves to impose its “Clean Power Plan” and other draconian rules, developed and developing nations alike are building new coal-fired power plants every week, greatly expanding their oil and gas use, and reducing wind and solar subsidies. Even EPA analyses recognize that ending nearly all US fossil fuel use will prevent an undetectable global temperature rise of just 0.02 degrees by 2100.

So EPA has tried to justify its job and economy-killing climate change and coal eradication rules by claiming they will bring huge “ancillary” health benefits. Those claims too are pure hogwash.

US coal-fired power plants emit less than 0.5% of all the mercury that enters Earth’s atmosphere every year from Asian power plants, forest fires, volcanoes, subsea vents and geysers. EPA nonetheless claims its rules will magically bring benefits like an imperceptible 0.00209-point improvement in IQ scores!

The agency also says banning coal-fired power plants will reduce “carcinogenic” and “lethal” levels of microscopic particulate matter (soot) in America’s air. But EPA has no medical evidence that what is still in our air poses actual problems. In fact, EPA-funded researchers illegally subjected human test subjects – including elderly, asthmatic, diabetic and cardiac patients – to 8, 30 or even 60 times more soot per volume (for up to two hours) than what EPA claims is dangerous or lethal. And yet, no one got sick.

Obviously, EPA’s air quality standards and dire warnings about soot are totally out of whack with reality.

The federal government next concocted what it calls the “social cost of carbon” framework. It assigns a price to using carbon-based fuels and emitting carbon dioxide, by blaming US fossil fuels and CO2 for every imaginable and imaginary “harm” to wildlife, climate and humans worldwide. It completely ignores the enormous and undeniable benefits of using those fuels, the equally important benefits of plant-fertilizing CO2, and horrendous damage that would result from eliminating 81% of America’s energy.

Indeed, EPA and other regulators routinely ignore the impacts that their draconian regulations have on people’s jobs, living standards, health and welfare – including reduced or lost incomes, lower nutrition, welfare dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, and shorter life spans. They then present scientists, “health” and “environmental” organizations and advisory committees that approve and applaud the regulations anyway – often because the agencies pay them millions of dollars a year to do so.

That’s how bureaucrats remain powerful, unaccountable and immune from being fired or having to compensate victims for their incompetent or even deliberate falsifications and actions. We end up being protected from exaggerated and fabricated risks, years or decades from now – by having jobs, companies, industries, families, communities, and our overall health and welfare hammered by over-regulation today.

America’s voters rejected this agenda. Over 90% of the nation’s counties voted to Trump the bridge hand to tyranny. We do not want to roll back true environmental progress. But we do demand a return to sanity, science, and honest consideration of our overall health, welfare and “human environment” in approving regulations that govern our lives. Let’s insist that the new Congress and Administration do exactly that.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and other books on the environment.

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97 thoughts on “Rolling back environmental progress?

  1. In the New York Times interview, Trump did say that he would apply cost-effectiveness standards to regulations on the environment. If that is rigorously enough employed, much of the recent regulations go away.

    • Back In The Day:
      Reagan was president, and congress passed laws requiring the EPA to apply cost/benefit analysis to proposed regulations. This was an attempt to to get some control over an agency which, by then, was clearly out of control. We can see the end result, today. Horrific imaginary harm from imaginary environmental threats, and fantastic imaginary savings and benefits from proposed regulation. In short, the cost/benefit requirement has been utterly subverted and perverted.

      In a larger view, the bureaucrats and careerists are well versed and skilled at stonewalling and derailing any and all attempts at reform. In addition, civil service work rules and union protections make getting rid of anybody a practical impossibility. Agency personnel have absolutely no motivation to go along with any reform.

      The fate of the Reagan era cost/benefit requirements is both an object lesson and a cautionary tale of what can lie ahead.

      • Cut their budget by 95%, and let them sort out the “issues” and “stonewallers. Change the laws so ALL regulations etc have to be approved by congress, and they have to SHOW us their data that they currently hide.

    • I’ll second that. Plus, the emissions benefits of a lot of regulations are horribly exaggerated. Consider the RICE and Boiler MACT rules, which amounted to additional testing, routine maintenance, and a whole lot of paperwork. At my facilities, there was precisely 0 benefit from these horrifically troublesome rules, though we had a lot of expense complying with them. Our experience was the rule, not the exception.

      However, both of these were approved as having massive emission reductions justifying enormous expenses.

      • California is worse than the federal EPA. CARB set a standard for ground level ozone based on a supposed connection to VOC’s that set the level of VOC’s that was lower than the level of VOC’s emitted by foliage.

      • Amen, Ben. When I have taken a rigorous look at the assumptions EPA makes on their cost-benefit calculations, I found that they are unrealistic and are often taken from unverified models. It gets so bad that I once thought they were true morons, and then it dawned on me they are just filling in the blanks, like a sort of scientific Mad Libs.

  2. Indeed, EPA and other regulators routinely ignore the impacts that their draconian regulations have on people’s jobs, living standards, health and welfare – including reduced or lost incomes, lower nutrition, welfare dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, and shorter life spans

    +1

    • Indeed. They are focused on a hypothetical “what could be a problem” rather than “what is a problem”.
      I call that “California Dreamin” regulations.

      • You mean “Dream Police” regulations?

        The only ‘progress’ made under the Green Police State has been in the relentless prostituion of science for political purposes that makes Lysenko look like Einstein.

    • I find that’s the case with most government employees.
      They feel smugly untouchable and damn the rest of us.

  3. “That’s because local officials and the USEPA didn’t do their jobs – didn’t monitor or fix failing, corroded lead water pipes”

    Been there, done that. There are no fancy trips and awards given out to people that actually keep stuff working. I have seen city water mains deliberately neglected because there is higher status associated with letting contracts to REPLACE water mains, than to MAINTAIN water mains. The bureaucrat who lets a contract will get a free dinner out, maybe several free golf games from contractors, but no perks at all for maintaining the water mains properly, such as for example, cathodic protecting them.

    Ordinary folks tend to get ignored. Managers need to be more like General Mattis, ie, someone who truly values each person under his/her command.

    • Yes, let us agree that CO2 is not a poison and is not pollution. It also does not warm the surface of the planet, or in other words, “climate sensitivity” is very close to zero if not actually negative.

      CO2 at about 1200 ppm would be a good start in my opinion.

      • Examining the rate of change of global mean temp. according to Karlised GISS LOTI data shows that the accelerating warming of the post war period ended in 1975 !!


        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1900/mean:120/mean:90/mean:70/derivative/scale:12/scale:100

        The rate of warming has been essentially constant since 1975 ie ZERO acceleration for the last FORTY years. That is greater than the generally accepted 30y definition of “climate” as opposed to weather.

        Atmospheric CO2 is still increasing at a steady 2 ppmv per year constantly increasing the “forcing” and this is claimed to be the “dominant” cause of warming by the IPCC.

        GISS LOTI data is totally incompatible with that conclusion.

  4. “We do not want to roll back true environmental progress.”

    Speak for yourself. I have no idea what “True environmental progress” is. I say defund the EPA now and then let us have a discussion about what the EPA does in the future, if anything.

    Just to say I want clean air and water relies on what “clean” means. In the EPA, CO2 is poison.

    • This climate-Socialism needs to be choked out at the UN as well. Western money feeds this misinformation that seeks to cripple Western economies.

    • Having asthma myself, I really don’t want to put up with cars like those belching in the 60’s abd 79’s. My wife and I visited Disneyland in Los Angeles in 1976. We got so sick from the smog we had to take antibiotics to clear up the sinus infections when we got home.

      But I totally agree that we don’t need to impose further regs that actually do nothing useful such as 50+ mileage requirements and filtering small particles out of the exhaust.

      What we really need if for Congress to review all administrative agencies and rewrite their authority regulations by limiting regulations to specific area in the law and requiring all regulations that have financial costs be approved by congress.

    • Laws need to be laws. If congress thinks cars need to get 54 mpg, write it into the law, not pass it on to some bureaucrat who can pull things out of thin air with no accountability. If congress wants “clean air” or “clean water” then write the amounts of particulates into the laws, so we can have discussions rather than some bureaucrats make things up. Most of our issues with regulations are because congress is constantly passing the buck onto bureaucrats instead of writing a law. We could get rid of most of the federal government if they would just write laws, instead of writing laws that allow someone else to write regulations.

  5. Asthma may be rising, but it’s certainly not because of pollution rates that have fallen dramatically.

    The problem may be that our environment is too clean.

    A leading theory behind the rising allergy and asthma diagnosis rates is the “hygiene hypothesis.” This theory suggests that living conditions in much of the world might be too clean and that kids aren’t being exposed to germs that train their immune systems to tell the difference between harmless and harmful irritants.

    This concept is supported by studies that show that individuals living on farms develop fewer allergic diseases. link

    Trying to protect against every possible hazard is actually harmful in so many ways.

    • commieBob, I agree 100%. As kids we ate food that was exposed to all the elements. Nothing was plastic wrapped, everything was handled by people with their bare hands. Coincidentally, allergies to foods such as peanuts, were unknown. As kids we got a lot of low-level infections, but by the time we were in our mid-teens we were effectively immortal.

      It used to be said that you would eat a peck of dirt before you died. (For those who only use metric, a peck is a unit of dry volume equivalent to 2 gallons.) The steady absorption of all this muck gave our immune systems much to work on. However, in today’s ultra-clean world, one’s lifetime consumption of dirt is probably now in the micropeck region, leaving our immune systems woefully short of fuel.

  6. Regulations strangle innovation and blow out cost via extended approval and build times. Regulation is debt’s friend.

    Laws without planning, merit or precision have been used by corporations to lock out competition, politicians to reallocate budgets based on seemingly better election prospects, educators to make sure everyone is educator dependent, payoffs for bribery from financiers to government department heads, governments to provide unproductive employment and extended, unplanned or costed benefit, “worry” providers to influence capital flows or ratings numbers, usurious rates of interest to taxpayers even as central bank rates go negative via government guaranteed BOOT schemes, without government budget consequence, ambulance chasing L-A-W providers, health provision to the well while neglecting the sick and feel good programs to sate the Gaia guilt of the educated but still ignorant, late’ sipping elite who possess no moral compass beyond the mirror, a cell phone mania and their ego.

    Regulation has been the weapon of socialists who have been educated in soft or unwanted sciences or law and find out too late that a productive society has no need of them but will allow their multiplication without an assessment of the consequences.

    Regulation has been used by foreign governments to “divert” the United States from its paramount lead in delivery of superior product even when most of that product was not invented by a US citizen. The “land of the free” has been strangled from the inside to the point where everyone’s economy suffers as the debt builds to breaking point.

    Regulation is the dark thought bubble of the lazy.

  7. Exxon CEO Now a Contender for Donald Trump’s Secretary of State

    WASHINGTON—President-elect Donald Trump is widening the circle of candidates for secretary of state and will interview more prospects this week, transition officials said, a sign that after multiple meetings with high-profile hopefuls he still isn’t sold on who he wants as the nation’s top diplomat.
    Though Mr. Trump’s transition team said last week that the search had narrowed to four finalists, new candidates have emerged, including Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp., one transition adviser said.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/exxon-ceo-now-a-contender-for-donald-trumps-secretary-of-state-1480878402

    • I still find it amazing that we are having this conversation, rather than one about surviving Queen Hillary … pinch me

    • FYI:
      Oil companies make about five cents off a gallon of gas, on the other hand federal and state taxes on a gallon of gas in California are over seventy cents a gallon, not including any local taxes.
      see:
      https://themaproomgallery.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/gas-map-in-the-news/
      “The highest gasoline tax in the country is in California, where it now exceeds 70 cents a gallon. Combined with California-specific fuel-blending regulations that drive up refining costs, these taxes help make Golden State gasoline prices the most expensive in the country.
      Several other states, such as New York, Connecticut, and Hawaii, are close to California in terms of the fuel-tax burden their residents bear, though none has yet joined in crossing the 70-cent-per-gallon threshold.”

      It is Big Government who is plundering the public.

      • People in Europe dream about such a low tax on fuel. Also, don’t forget that sales tax/VAT/GST is actually a “tax on a tax”. Governments actually tax us several hundreds of %, then add up to 20% on that for the dubious privilege of paying the original tax!

      • Bear in mind that this tax is typically taken from money we’ve already paid a lot of tax on. Tax on a tax on previously taxed income!

        (you may have guessed that I don’t like taxes)

  8. “The total cost of complying with federal rules was about $1 trillion annually in 2006. It has since doubled, raising the federal reporting and compliance burden to $6,000 per person per year, through late-2016.” Think about that for a second. If the GDP is around $18 MMMM, (18 thousand thousand thousand thousand dollars), that means that over 11% of the GDP is devoted to Federal regulations of some sort given that the $2 MMMM figure is accurate. You do not run fast with that sort of sack of bricks on your back.

  9. EPA is totally unconcerned with protecting the “environment” and 100% focused on increasing their budget and personal paychecks whilst destroying the lives of and jailing all who oppose their anti-American crusade. And spare me the recriminations about the “good people” working in EPA, I know far too many of the scumbags.

  10. kleptocracy will always grind the productive to a start.
    Every one of the aphabet soup of “Civil servants” comes with a high cost low return for those who pay the bill.
    We have allowed them to “help” us into bankruptcy and coma.
    Trump does not go far enough, for every new regulation 10 not 2 need voided.
    Fire 50% of the bureaucratic infestation immediately, term limit them all.(As anymore than 5 years in Government “Service” seems to destroy logical thought processes.)
    Rule of law has been stripped from the citizen by regulatory fiat.
    When there are no defined standards, there is no law.
    As anyone who has had our Environmental Agencies attack them will attest.

    Up here in The Socialist Paradise of Canada,population 33 million, the cost of compliance was calculated to be $30 billion/year.
    At the same time the federal deficit was $28 billion.(2012)

  11. If you can prove that something is bad for the environment, then, yeah, we should ban it or regulate it. That only makes sense. But the EPA abandoned “proof” long ago and prefers that GreenPeace set their policy and regulation.

    Trump can just go back to the proof standard and that would work out great. I mean, we humans, do have the capacity to cause harm to the environment and we should be careful with new processes and new technology to make sure there isn’t unintended consequences. But the Green movement does not understand the concept of “proof” since they rely on emotional thinking only.

  12. Millions more will bekilled because of smaller cars? In Germany there ar dying less than 5000 per year in traffic accidents – mostly pedestrians and bycicle riders. The Millions + number seems too high for a population of about 4 times as high as Germany.

  13. EPA. You mean the folks that turn a blind eye so huge swaths of land can be sterilized of all life for solar plants. The same folks who caused the worst pollution spill in memory into a river system effecting several states? The same folks who ignore exorbitant numbers of endangered species being lopped out of the sky by antiquated technology wind farms. Oh yah they are so into environmental protection. Green has become code for crony defilement of the environment.

    • Most solar goes on roofs, old airport runways or old waste dumps in the UK – and when on agricultural land, it is poor quality land which is also grazed by sheep (occasionally free range chickens).

      Nothing is ‘sterilised’.
      In Germany solar also goes on old soviet training areas too polluted to use for anything else and I believe also on one old opencast Uranium mine.

      • Keep spewing leftist propaganda, and we keep laughing at you. I am right now, and not a f**king thing you can do to stop me.

  14. Progress is merely monotonic change. Perhaps they should qualify their conception… and stop shifting, obfuscating, and evading responsibility. Principles matter.

  15. Dear Gina,

    None of the EPA’s environmental agenda has been deemed constitutional, so stop trying force it down the American people’s throat. You are entering the extra-legal world of anti-democracy!

    Accept the collective wisdom of the last election and stop any more environmental tyranny, pretty please!

    Steve

    • All EPA regulations are being enforced as laws, time to run the whole thing through Congress and have ratified or removed.

  16. I would suggest that the final paragraph is false or at least deliberately misleading. “America’s voters rejected this agenda. Over 90% of the nation’s counties voted to Trump the bridge hand to tyranny. ” Given that Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is 2 million plus and rising then if you want to draw a conclusion about what the american voter wanted it would be that it was in favour of less pollution. While the statement that 90% of
    the counties voted for Trump might be true it is completely misleading and also effectively meaningless. All it really tells you is America’s population is not evenly distributed between counties. More-over counties don’t get a vote in the electoral college so that it really doesn’t matter what the tally of counties is.

    • Of Hillary Clinton’s popular vote majority, some are even alive and some are even citizens (perhaps). Most of the states that produced majorities for HRC have very lax voter rolls.

    • Who cares about the ‘popular vote’ … take the time to glance up at the scoreboard every-now-and-again:

      Clinton/Kaine – 232
      Trump/Pence – 306

      Many a World Series has been won by a team scoring the least runs during the series.

    • Germino, another thing to think about is that if you exclude California, Trump had a nearly 2 million vote lead in the popular vote.

      Just think about that. One state, albeit the most popular one, gave over 4 million votes to Clinton than Trump (with 60% vs 30% of their 12 million votes). That’s a pretty strong statement that California is overwhelmingly democratic, but it is not aligned with the rest of the country. This is one of the reasons that we have the electoral college, so that a single state doesn’t sway the whole country.

      • Again so what? If roughly 50 000 people changed their votes then Clinton would have
        won the electoral college. My point is that you cannot claim that the American voters
        voted for less environmental regulations since more voted for Clinton than Trump. Personally I would claim there is no way of knowing what people actually voted for since the election coverage was almost completely devoid of policy discussion.

        And ironically the originally reason for the electoral college was to kept popularists like
        Trump out and ensure that the elite remained in power. The founding fathers did not
        want direct democracy and certainly did not trust the masses.

      • “Personally I would claim there is no way of knowing what people actually voted for since the election coverage was almost completely devoid of policy discussion. ”

        There is a whole lot of effort that goes into determining what the people are “wanting”. I heard one candidate discuss policy many many times, including the very things this article discusses . . the other didn’t, as far as I can tell (but played moralistic/SJW games for the most part), so it’s perfectly logical to conclude Americans in general were not “wanting” to further reduce pollution.

      • I will agree with both of you that claiming an electoral mandate based off of a margin of less than 2% of votes cast is absurd. There is no clear victor, and it’s certainly not an absolute mandate for any part of their platform.

      • “There is no clear victor…”

        There IS a clear victor, benofhouston. The contest was specifically for elector college delegates, and one candidate won that contest hands down, so to speak.

        Sometimes in (American) football, the team with the most points, is not the team that got the most total yardage, but no one (in there right mind) speaks of the victory being unclear therefore, right? The whole approach to the game would be different if the contest was for total yards, and the whole approach to the election would have been different if the contest was for total votes. The concept that the totals would be the same as they were, if the object of the contest was to get the most total votes, is pure fantasy therefore.

        And, if the winner stressed a given proposed policy. and the loser barely touched on it, the logical conclusion is that the loser did not see sufficient value in contesting the policy, to even stress their contrary position as a “get out the vote” ploy. The implication is that stressing the opposing view, would have lost more votes than it gained for the anti-deregulation candidate. Which is to say the winner has a political “mandate” to implement the policy they campaigned on.

      • I know that, John. In fact, this is one of the main advantages of the electoral college, that these narrow margins can occur and we still have a decisive winner with only a very preliminary count of the vote, and we will never have to do a full country-wide recount.

        I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear, let me rephrase.

        Even on this situation where the Republicans hold majorities in both House and Senate and the presidency, ~45% of our government is represented by Democrats. That is a massive group. Trying to claim that your policies have the overwhelming support of the electorate is simply not true as, statistically, we have had a very close race since I was born. Obviously both sides have tremendous support, and they should both be respected for that reason. Riding roughshod over the opposition on a crusade is just wrong and ignoring almost half of your constituents.

        Italy, with a 60%-40% rejection of their new constitution, THAT’s a clear mandate of the people. That’s significant.

      • Ben,

        “Trying to claim that your policies have the overwhelming support of the electorate is simply not true as, statistically, we have had a very close race since I was born.”

        Who said the policies in question have the overwhelming support of the electorate? Not I . . No, I’m saying it’s more like if there were a group of people who want to go out for dinner together, in a town with two restaurants, one serves Mexican food and the other Chinese. Half the people say we want Mexican, and the other half express no preference. Where ought they go? Is there a “mandate” to go Mexican? Of course there is, I say.

        What you’re doing, it seems to me, is kinda like assuming that if half say Mexican, and half don’t specify Mexican, they must prefer the Chinese . .

      • PS~ Ms. Clinton stressed the “I’m a woman” aspect of the race, but the other candidate did not stress that he’s not a woman. We cannot rightly assume there was any significant resistance among Trump voters to a woman being President, can we?

    • Germinio,

      “Given that Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is 2 million plus and rising …”

      The election campaigns were not geared toward popular vote maximization, so we cannot know what the popular vote would have been if they had been. You don’t count how many pieces each player took during a chess game, and then speak of the one with highest number as the better chess player, right? That ain’t the object of the game . .

      • That is not the point. I am not disputing that Clinton lost the election fair and square. But if more
        people voted for Clinton than Trump then you cannot argue that the people voted to role back
        environmental protection.

      • No, the people voted for the criminals in EPA to be prosecuted. EPA has MASSIVELY over stepped its bounds and people want their a$$es punished and their illegal crap removed.

      • “But if more people voted for Clinton than Trump then you cannot argue that the people voted to role back environmental protection.”

        The subject is reducing environmental regulations, and I can argue that there was virtually no sign of resistance to that prospect by the electorate, based on how the candidates campaigned in relation to that idea. The behavior of the candidates is naturally indicative of what they’re hearing from their tacticians. What we saw was exactly what one would expect to see if the “don’t deregulate” sentiment was very weak in general, it seems to me.

    • If voter fraud was ever a concern, this election would be the one to scrutinize! The unrelenting torrent of anti Trump hysteria, the massive effort by institutions, academia, the media, the government and the amoral dishonesty and ethical deviousness of the DNC revealed in the leaks made any prudent honest person fear for voter fraud. Hillary’s campaign folks orchestrated violence at Trump rallies including one in Chicago that cancelled an event. With such angst by the entitled, why would they restrain themselves from cooking votes?

  17. Paul, the elephant in the room that evades viewers is the fact that the left’s constituency in America is outside the country. Elections for the left are quaint customs that are necessary for optics at least until a UN centered, non representative taxation system (already expanding) can be cemented in.

    While Obama and then Hillary talked about jobs and a chicken in every pot that there never was a plan for, they were inexorably setting up a thorough dismantling of the most productive and innovative economy in the world and rationalizing the case for ridding the country and the world of democracy, free speech and free enterprise.

    CAGW is the imperative that was set up by a non scientist, Canadian communist Maurice Strong (google it) that had the best chance of obtaining the real political goals. Having co-opted the education system over time was part of the preparation. Until CAGW came along, I never realized that creating useful idiots was part of the program. We appear to have been rescued by Trump and Brexit but, please take this warning : take charge of your children’s education and teach them to think for themselves and be less trusting of the mainstream wisdom on all issues.

  18. The current EPA is chock full of former NRDC/WWF/Green party civil service hires. It is rotten to the very core.

    The EPA needs to be defunded, positions eliminated, and transfer program authority to Dept of Interior and Dept of Agriculture.

    This would deliver the enema the environmental “movement” needs.

  19. Paul, it’s really true that we have cleaned up the air and water since the mid-1960’s when I was an adolescent. St. Louis always had choking air when we visited and you could see the smog layer from Waterloo, Illinois where my family lived.
    Later on as a High-schooler my Biology class sampled local waterways where batch dumps were made by local industries. That was real eco-activism – no imaginary threat.

  20. IMHO, the US has achieved the original ’70s vision of clean air, in which harmless CO2 and water vapor have mostly replaced dangerous pollutants.
    The media never celebrated the progress, we only got hammered with a new “acid rain” theory and the newly discovered ozone layer with its hole, “obviously caused by air pollution”.

    Each new “threat” came with the caveat that if we accept the cost of remediation and regulation of the targeted industries, then all could be returned to the calculated “normal” conditions.

    Really, this is getting old.

    • If leaded gasoline was making all our kids dumb, I wonder why test scores didn’t skyrocket after leaded gasoline was banned? Instead test scores have continued their long term gradual decline.

      Tetraethyl lead is dangerous to handle during gasoline blending, but no more so than many other industrial chemicals that are used every day. There was zero data to support a linkage between use of leaded gasoline and any maladies you might expect, even among people like gas station attendants who should have been at a much higher risk than average motorists.

      And now they are saying that the decades old dogma about dietary salt and cholesterol being universally bad is incorrect, and the risks are really only applicable to a fraction of the population with preexisting conditions or susceptibilities. So much dogma that was so entrenched is going up in smoke before our eyes.

  21. Actually no. Flint was caused by fraud. I do have the qualifications to comment on this.

    There is a specific procedure for testing for lead and copper in your system. You have to flush a faucet that is likely to have lead and then let it sit. Then you take your sample. They selected their samples and ignored positives in order to get the negative result they sought.

    There are anti-corrosion additives that can be added to water. It’s not cheap, but it’s not too bad on the order of large scale industry. They just didn’t do it.

    Flint couldn’t be stopped by adding new laws because the laws that were broken have been in place since the 50s. Each person involved knew better, held a potable water license, and still falsified their documentation.

    • EPA aided and abetted them at every step, Democrat AND Republican politicians lined their pockets every step. Corruption and EPA, inextricably intertwined.

  22. The new administration should appoint a special prosecutor to examine emails between the EPA and green groups to determine if there was implicit collusion between them on “sue and settle” lawsuits. And undue influence by green groups.

  23. The EPA is the least of the snowflakes’ worries. After all, after a USSC appointment or two, Trump will be able to institute Prima Nocta using his pen and phone.

  24. About the EC vs. Popular vote:
    The biggest blowout in my lifetime, 1984, saw Reagan win his second term in an astounding landslide. It was 525 to 13, and 10 of those 13 were from a state (Minnesota) with an essential tie at 49.5% to 49.7% (the other 3 were a massively D majority in D.C.)
    However, even with that kind of mandate, the popular vote wasn’t so overwhelming. Reagan won with 58% vs Ferraro’s 40.6%, or 54,455,075 to 37,577,185.
    The Electoral College makes it far more clear who has won. The Electoral College prevents vast swaths of the population from having no say, just as the House and Senate provide low population states to have a say, and high population states to have a say. The idea of the entire system is to ensure fairness and, maybe more importantly, cooperation.
    In fact, the US government, when it’s not being bypassed unlawfully by dems, is the most brilliant and balanced system of government EVER DEVISED throughout history.

  25. Many of my Democrat friends have no practical understanding of the police-state they have created for US based manufacturing. They actually fancy themselves as libertarians; it’s a new brand of “freedom” enjoyed by the people that don’t actually do anything.

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