One might assume that during the month of April my office would receive more comments and complaints about the IRS than any other federal agency, but that’s not the case. The EPA is the agency that I hear about from more Idahoans than any other. Most of that correspondence centers on the EPA overstepping the regulatory role it was setup to provide. We can all agree that we want clean air and clean water. How that’s done, however, when it’s not done reasonably, is a different matter.
One of the most hotly debated examples of this is the EPA’s recent efforts to regulate carbon dioxide. This unilateral action came about because Congress repeatedly refused to hand that authority over. Now the Administration is trying to bypass Congress to enact this unpopular policy by fiat. I am determined to keep that from happening and support various amendments to do just that. At a time of record government growth, the last thing we need to do is handover congressional responsibility to an agency that’s unaccountable to the voters.
Another concern I frequently hear is the EPA’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ mandates. An example of this is new drinking water quality standards. We all agree water standards are good, but systems in places like Worley and Soda Springs shouldn’t be treated like those in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Big cities can afford multimillion dollar water facilities- rural Idaho cannot.
To that end, I have authored legislation that would prohibit the EPA from its current practice of fining communities that cannot afford to make these mandated upgrades to their rural water systems due to infrastructure costs. This mindset of penalizing rather than helping is what causes much animosity regarding the EPA. Fines do not push rural communities to improve water quality, they drive them toward bankruptcy. The EPA needs to be an environmentally helpful organization with solutions, not a ‘fining and penalty’ organization that provides no helpful answers other than more and more fines.