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EPA Unaccountability

Updated on July 11, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years on museums and libraries.

Introduction

The EPA has been in the news lately and not in a positive light. Instead of protecting our environment as they are charged to do, they are causing environment disaster in Colorado.

- Aug. 2015

EPA Latest Disaster

On August 7, 2015, The EPA caused a major disaster while cleaning up a contaminated gold mine. The spill occurred Wednesday morning at a long-closed Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colo., and fouled the Animas River, a 126-mile-long tributary of the San Juan River, part of the Colorado River system. EPA crews trying to collect and contain waste water in the Gold King mine in Durango, Colorado, loosed 1.1 million gallons of “acidic, yellowish” discharge, causing the pollution – which includes levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, aluminum and copper – to flow into the Animas River (an early tributary of the Colorado) at a rate of 1200 gallons per minute.

Summary

Accidents happens and agencies of the federal government are not immune to them. However, my beef is when these things happen again and again, no one is held accountable. How can we prevent these occurrences or at least reduce them if no person is fired or reprimanded. In the privater sector, when something bad happens, a supervisor in charge is held accountable. That's how the system works. On the other hand, when a person do a great job in the private sector, they are rewarded with bonuses and raises.

In the government, if you are working in the Veterans Administration for example, you not only get bonuses and promotions, you are not even charged with a criminal offense when you break the law and falsify records leading to some disabled veterans dying while waiting for appointments.

Please contact the EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and file a complaint.


© 2015 Jack Lee

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    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 15 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, you make some good observations and arguments. Let me address some of them. As far as protection the environment, I am all for it but not all that government try to dictate. I am more pragmatic and also a skeptic with regard to climate change. I've written extensively on that topic and will not repeat it here. I do believe we can be good stewart of our environment, and the animal world as dictated by the Bible. That should be separate by what climate change is proposing. The use of coal is just one example. It is a necessary livelihood for many people and I don't think it is the EPA's function to put them out of business. I prefer the conservative solution of allowing the market place to decide. I also belief there should be some regulation to make sure there is no wrong doing or fraud or abuses which may exist in all businesses. That is to counter some on the left claiming that conservatives don't want any regulations. Not true. The abuses on wall street is another place where I agree with government oversight. That is the job of the SEC to make sure the field is level and no insider trading and other abuses committed by white collars. By the way, both parties have been pawns of wall street leading to a crony capitalism that I detest equally as Bernie Sanders. We agree on the problem but disagree on the solution. Election reform is badly needed to reduce the influence of big money. My simple solution is to adopt term limits on Congress. I've written about this in one of my other hubs. Getting back to the post office vs. FedEx. You makes some good points about how the post office has mandates that private companies don't. However, that does not explain the inefficiencies at the post office. That is inherent in any govenment agency where the job is secondary. There is little incentive to improve or to be efficient. In fact it is just the opposite. If an agency reduce cost from one year to the next, their budget gets cut. You being working in the government should know this very well.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 15 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      The SC sent back (5 - 4) a lower court ruling which upheld Obama's Coal regulation to wait for some other court cases to catch up. Most, if not all lower court decisions have upheld the rule. Now that the conservatives are no longer in charge of the SC and the high likelihood of Clinton winning the presidency, the rule to help save the world will prevail in the SC.

      Why is it that conservatives always oppose any measure to clean up the environment or keep it clean. I cannot think of case back to when Nixon created the EPA that conservatives did not strongly oppose any environmentally friendly law or regulation. Why is that?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 15 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      "If a company does wrong or is inefficient or is unattentive to its customers, they will pay the price and will fail in the market place." is the theory, but it simply has Never worked in the real world and Peabody and Koch industries are wonder examples. They have been destroying the environment for many decades; yet until recently for Peabody and still for Koch, they had or have been doing very well for all of those years.

      Your theory would have had the marketplace change their behavior a very long time ago, but it didn't. Why didn't it. These two companies are known as the worst in their respective industries.

      Why didn't the market place stop the criminal activity of Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, In-Stock, Adelphia, Tyco, HealthSouth, Jack Abramoff, Countrywide, and Marcus Shrenker just to name a very few. In each case it was regulators of some sort who discovered their criminal behavior.

      If you say "As a conservative, I am for clean environment,..." then I ask, why didn't conservatives do anything about it, instead of encouraging the destruction of the environment through their obstructionism. It took Nixon (a social liberal by then) and a liberal Congress to accomplish anything.

      As to the EPA "overstepping its bounds" - that is just your opinion; fortunately more Americans have a different opinion, as do the courts in most cases.

      You need to get over the catch-phrase of "picking winners and losers"; the government has been doing that since the Constitution was ratified; it will never change, nor should it.

      I am VERY envious of your trip to China, that has been on my bucket list (but not my wife's) for a long time.

      As to the post office running in the red vs Fed Ex. Would Fed Ex make money if it were required to deliver mail and packages to EVERY address in America? No, but the USPS does. Would Fed Ex make money if Congress controlled what it charged? No, but USPS lives under such restrictions.

      Let's assume for a moment, back to one of those arguments, that USPS is cut loose to run on its own; how many citizens would lose mail service because delivery is just too damn costly for many parts of America.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 15 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Btw, here is link to recent court ruling -

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/us/politics/supr...

      Notice it is from the New York Times and not Fox News.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 15 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric,

      That is the crux of the problem. Who is to decide and who is to allow? Your statement about Peabody is why you will never understand free market and capitalism. If a company does wrong or is inefficient or is unattentive to its customers, they will pay the price and will fail in the market place. That is how the hidden hand works. Please read Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" and you may learn something. It is not up the the government or the EPA to dictate and pick winner and losers in the energy sector.

      As a conservative, I am for clean environment, contrary to the lies that have been made. The EPA have over step it's function and that is where the problem lies. In fact, the courts agree with me and in recent ruling have said so.

      I just returned from a trip to China. I can tell you first hand that under their form of government, the people are told what to do and how to do it and their news are censored... Is that what you are proposing?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 15 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Fed Ex's purse strings and pricing is not set by Congress, is it?

      Your right, anecdotes rarely change my mind, only fact based empirical analysis or a well reasoned logical argument will do the trick

      Your opinion about the EPA is just that, your opinion. My opinion is that the EPA is doing the right thing in protecting America from coal; just as it did from the river pollution which set the Ohio River on fire; put life back in a dead Lake Eire that private industry killed; allowed LA that I watched disappear under a blanket of smog, reappear; and the list goes on and on. What is ironic is people who believe just the way you do tried very hard to stop each one of these initiatives.

      After this "In Newsweek's 2012 Green Rankings—comparisons of the environmental footprint, management, and transparency of the largest public companies in America—Peabody Energy was ranked 493rd out of 500 in all industries and 29th out of 31 in the energy industry. The company received the worst possible Environmental Impact score." why should Peabody Energy be allowed to stay in business?

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 15 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Me esoteric, I do not claim to do analysis. I am going by what is reported in the news. The VA is not just incompetence but criminal. It is well documented that officials lied about case loads and wait time so that they could receive bonuses. The sad thing is when this was exposed, we were told they could not fire the people involved due to federal labor laws. What happens at the VA may be extreme but it is what happens when you have bureaucrats managing a huge system from DC and they loose track of their main mission...that is to help the veterans that have been injured while defending our freedom.

      The EPA, on the other hand is totally out of control under Obama. They have over reached their jurisdiction and have used their power to regulate industry especially in the case of coal power plants. This is not conjecture but taken straight from the horses mouth... They want to bankrupt coal industry and they got what they wished. Peabody Energy went chapter 11 recently. Don't tell me the EPA was not the main cause.

      You can put your trust in big government and I can't change your mind however many anecdotes. The prove is in the results.

      Compare the US postal service to FedEx, both serve same purpose delivering packages. One is running in the red all the time, while the other is making money. What is the difference? Could it be the federal bureaucracy? Just asking?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 15 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Under Reagan, the VA gained the reputation it has today except poor medical delivery was added to the mix of administrative incompetence. This ended with Clinton where the VA became the model of health care delivery. With W. it headed South again until it blew up in Obama's face because he (meaning the head of the VA) didn't heed the warning signs.

      In reading this Hub, I kept waiting for a dozen or more anecdotes (you know how I feel about anecdotal evidence) to add weight to your broad claim. What would convince me you are right is, over the last five (or better yet 10) years how many cases of blunders like this occurred out of the total cases where blunders could have happened, but didn't. Provide that ratio and it is greater than 0.05, then I will begin to think there is a problem, and if it is greater than 0.10, than I will strongly suspect there is the kind of problem you describe.

      Short of that, your analysis is simply cherry-picking to make your point, isn't it?

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 2 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Either that or you are simply naive and only wish to see the world through rose colored glasses.

      I suppose the NSA just accidently eavesdropped on the Worlds cell phone conversations and mining corporations just accidently spill sewage into pre-drilled fracking holes and Deep Water Horizon was just negligence after investors sold all their shares two weeks before the BP accident and Enron just accidently went bankrupt and the Government just accidently forgets to tell us that their really wasn't any weapons of mass destruction and do I really need to go on . . .

      PALEASE! and I just recommended one of your Hubs for Hub of the Day . . . WOW time to rethink your intelligence level.

      If the Government can get away with a crime and blame it on negligence, they will and have been doing it for hundreds of years . . . what grade are you in?

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      somethgblue - Boy are you a cynic. I can't believe they would do this on purpose. It is just incompetence and no one is held accountable. Perhaps this will be a teaching moment for those bureaucrats. Sometime shit happens and it is not always by design.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      The EPA has been given powers beyond what was intended for this group. They are acting like rogue lunatics thanks to a president who wants things this way.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 2 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Don't kid yourself JL, this was no accident, this was done on purpose and because no will be held accountable they will continue to pollute our water and rape our wilderness.

      But consider this, say an investor wants to lower property values or force folks to move out of a region he wants to develop, all you have to do is bribe the right EPA official and voila, they give you a so-called 'accident' or natural disaster, flood, whatever and down go the property values and incomes the investor.

      It happens all the time in every State in America, so let's not pretend this is incompetence, that dog don't hunt.