Vin SuprynowiczMore About: Vin Suprynowicz's Columns Archive
WHIP ME, HURT ME, SUE ME
In Washington, he’s called the Environmental Protection Agency.
Environmental groups that frequently revile and sue the Bush administration for failing to adequately “protect” the air and water have collected millions of dollars in government grants to help fund those efforts -- failing in one recent case to properly account for the money -- Associated Press reported Rita Beamish reported this week.
“More than 2,200 nonprofit groups have received grants from the Environmental Protection Agency over the last decade,” Ms. Beamish reports, “including those that lobby and sometimes sue the agency.
“One of the most prominent, the Natural Resources Defense Council, was cited in a recent audit for failing to properly document more than a third of the $3.3 million it received in three EPA grants.”
The EPA’s inspector general said the litigious NRDC used the money to conduct research and education on storm water pollution. But money is fungible -- paying money to someone who sues you is dumb, because it frees up more of their remaining resources to keep suing you. Unless, of course ... you like it.
Ongoing EPA grant recipient NRDC has sued EPA 35 times the past two years, according to NRDC spokesman Jon Coifman.
“It may be confusing to the public that with the right hand we’re accepting government money and with the left hand sometimes we’re beating up the government,” comments Charles Miller, communications director for Environmental Defense, which has received more than $1.8 million from EPA since 1995.
“But the government is a complicated beast. Some of the things they’re doing we think are wrong. A lot of the things they’re doing we think are right. We’re using the grant money to further the environmental cause,” Miller said.
In fact, to bring these apparent contradictions into focus, it’s only necessary to realize one thing: Government bureaucracies like the EPA are full of extremists who bridle at any attempt by elected or appointed officials to moderate their undertakings, reining them in and restricting them to only those modest, sensible regulatory efforts which truly benefit the environment while minimally impinging on business enterprise, resource development, and property rights.
Many of these zealots favor zero additional resource development, zero additional economic or human population growth. So, when officials reflecting the more sensible will of the electorate are placed above them in an attempt to rein them in, they happily fund and cooperate with their eco-extremist pals “on the outside,” welcoming and in some cases even facilitating the lawsuits which produce “compromise settlements,” shifting their more common-sense political bosses inexorably toward the Green extreme.
The right of such extremists to promote a Green Gospel which holds that mankind is a plague upon the planet is protected by the First Amendment, of course.
What’s barred, under that same article of the Bill of Rights, is for the federal government to spend a single dime “establishing” that religion -- that is to say, enforcing its weird precepts via government law or policy.
Of course the EPA should be barred from funding -- even indirectly -- anyone who lobbies or sues the agency. This is like attaching huge sea anchors to our warships, causing them to waste fuel and move more slowly, just to “make things fairer” for enemies wishing to sink them.
If these masochists wish to pay off folks like the Natural Resources Defense Council, while moaning “Please whip me,” they certainly shouldn’t do it with our tax money.
But the real question is: Until the First Amendment is repealed, is it constitutional for Congress to establish an official government Nature Cult Church -- empowered to fine and jail those who refuse to follow church edicts on the limitless pampering of every obscure weed and bug, absent any scientific demonstration of resulting benefit -- by funding the EPA, at all?