The EPA Is Full Of Idiots

cmartenson
By cmartenson on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 - 1:35pm

I hate to be this disparaging, but there’s no other conclusion I can come to besides that the EPA is full of idiots or so utterly captured by economic interests that it cannot manage to do its job at all and should therefore be disbanded.

Fire everyone in there and start over.  That’s what I’d do if I were President.

Here’s the latest assault on common sense and reason, which starts out hopefully enough but proves to be another bait-and-switch slap in the face:

Hey, that’s awesome right?  We can actually gather data now, assuming that the bees are not carted across the new 'pesticide-free' and 'not-free' zones.

U.S. EPA proposing temporary pesticide-free zones for honeybees

May 28, 2015

(Reuters) - U.S. environmental regulators on Thursday proposed a rule that would create temporary pesticide-free zones to protect commercial honeybees, which are critical to food production and have been dying off at alarming rates.

The restrictions are aimed at protecting bees from "pesticides that are acutely toxic" to them, and would cover foliar applications when certain plants are in bloom and when commercial honeybees are being used to pollinate crops, the Environmental Protection Agency said in an 18-page outline of the rule. In foliar applications, the pesticide is put on the plant.

Honeybees pollinate plants that produce roughly a quarter of the food consumed by Americans, and beekeepers travel around the country with managed hives to help the process.

The rule, due to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, would apply to pesticide applications to blooming crops where bees have been contracted to pollinate and would cover 76 active ingredients used in pesticides, including a popular class of insecticide known as neonicotinoids.

This seems like a good, reasonable and responsible approach that will allow actual data to be gathered.  The devil, as always, is in the details and found buried at the bottom of the article:

Critics said the plan falls short because it does nothing about neonics used in seed treatments, applied before the seed is planted. 

*sigh*

It’s not “critics” who are just being random, noisy complainers griping about something they wanted and didn’t get.  They have a 100% valid point.  The neonicotinoid seed treatments are the #1 way that neonics get into the environment.  So the "experiment" the EPA is proposing is to remove some pesticides from some areas, but leave the neonicotinoid seed treatments intact, and then study what happens to bee health next.

This is like running an experiment on the relationship between guns and gun violence by announcing you are going to remove all the guns from a neighborhood … except for the guns in the hands of the people already using them violently.

As a scientist, the idea of running an experiment while leaving the main object being studied fully embedded within both your experimental and control groups is pure, unadulterated bullcrap.  It’s not science.  It’s not even useful or interesting. 

Remember to try and act surprised when, in a year, the “results” come out and show that this “study” did not result in improved bee health which will be seized upon by the chemical lobby and plastered all over gullible or complaint news media to proclaim that neonics are not responsible for bee deaths.

People will say “but the EPA studied that and showed no effect….”

This is where we are as a nation.  Science is no longer even understood at a very basic, freshman high school level by people who presumably graduated college and are collecting paychecks to conduct scientific studies and interpret the results.

If anybody from the EPA is reading this I know that all of you are not this completely stupid. And I know that some of you are valiantly fighting internal battles as you watch this institutional capture and idiocy play out, and feel trapped in your situation.

But if you choose to say nothing, and to do nothing, and let this farce persist, you too deserve to be fired. You might as well find a different profession where you can add some value to society.

The EPA has failed as an institution. And it seems to me that starting over, fresh, with all new employees might be the best response.

Note: If you're reading this and are not yet a member of Peak Prosperity's Beekeeping Group, please consider joining it now. It's where our active community of bee enthusiasts share information, insights and knowledgable daily discussion to help each other support and nuture the pollinators our food supply is so dependent on. Simply go here and click the "Join Today" button.

10 Comments

SingleSpeak's picture
SingleSpeak
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 30 2008
Posts: 496
If you work for the EPA,

here are some prudent courses of action to choose from:

 

  1. Give up and blow your head off with your own gun.
  2. PM me to borrow my gun and blow your head off with that, you get to keep the gun obviously.
  3. Quit and become a whistleblower - and continue living with a little respect intact.
  4. Do nothing, keep collecting your government paycheck, retire with a big pension check. You're going to need it because food is going to be scarce and extremely expensive if you can get it.

    SS

     

blackeagle's picture
blackeagle
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 16 2013
Posts: 216
Same thing

Same thing as refactoring a failed software with the team that build it the first time... the company is now dead... real example I witnessed.

And why not saying that this is a plan to legitimate some molecules in the public opinion? Not a big leap... who is behind?

And unfortunately chemistry, wind, water runoff, etc... have no border knowledge.

I am happy I am starting beekeeping this year far from agricultural fields.

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
Agree

I hate to be this disparaging, but there’s no other conclusion I can come to besides that the EPA is full of idiots or so utterly captured by economic interests that it cannot manage to do its job at all and should therefore be disbanded.

Cheers to that! The EPA and state environmental protection departments are full of clowns and the only fix would be to start over. There is a local lake nearby that has cyanobacteria blooms every year fed from  Kraft foods gelatinous waste piles upstream. Piles that are located at the bottom of a large slope which directionally leads right into the stream with little vegetation in the way. This was completely approved by MassDEP, despite how stupid the location was for a compost pile. Regardless, this water body (secondary water supply for the town) has been suffering over the years with periodic lake closings due to Cyanobacteria blooms identified near sample locations along the lake. Two public dock areas were the sample locations to identify whether the lake is suffering from cyanobacteria blooms, despite the knowledge that Cyanobacteria blooms could be found elsewhere in the pond. If a bloom happened to be near one of those docks that day, "shut the lake down," but if they were not there, "allow the kids to swim." Too lazy to take a canoe out and take proper samples I guess.

Environmental enforcement agencies are tremendous example of how corrupt our government is. Look at this.. a 106 page "assessment" report on the lake I mentioned which was created by the EPA http://www.epa.gov/region1/lab/pdfs/LakeAttitashAssessmentReport.pdf . How much time and research went into this stupid report which could have all been avoided by not allowing Kraft foods to compost nutrient rich waste at the bottom of a slope which also happened to be next to an inlet to a body of water?... very stupid.

Shut them down

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
We need to prioritize environmental protection as a goal

Let’s break up this Bash-Fest and wake up to reality. I am old enough to remember the Cuyahoga River on fire and the resulting wave of public and bipartisan support for environmental protection in the US which resulted in the formation of the EPA.

Do you really think the environment will get cleaner if we abolish the EPA? Do you understand how much worse environmental damage can be? Check out global air pollution rankings: http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/cities/en/

Do you really think our congress will get together to create a BETTER environmental protection group or department in the foreseeable future? EPA’s enforcement budget has been slashed by congress, and polluters are now less annoyed by pesky environmental regulations.

Since the EPA has shortcomings and IS beholden to political and corporate forces, let OUR voices be even stronger than the moneyed interests. Let your congressmen know that you want a clean environment. Shout loud and often.

Maybe EPA will be allowed to do their job if we as citizens actively support the end goal of a clean environment for ourselves and future generations.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3124
What Tall said

Further, this article and comments do nothing but feed the far right wing narrative that EPA and other gov't regulatory agencies are nothing more than evil cabals set up to make life impossible for corporations.  What utter nonsense.  I've known a lot of state and federal environmental agency professionals.  Guess what, they are professional.  I sailed the Great Lakes for years beginning in the early 80s.  The Cuyahoga River story is true.  Today the river in Cleveland is a destination for boaters and tourists in the renovated "Flats" area of the city thanks to the efforts of state and federal regulatory agencies as well as the actual remediation performed by the agencies.  There is tremendous work being done all around the country by those professionals.  If you can do a better job, get off your butts and do it.

Your article states that the EPA is proposing this rule.  That means it has to go out for comment from the public, professional organizations, academia and anyone else who wishes to comment.  It is not a rule yet.  Rule making is a long and bureaucratic process that, even once a rule is codified, is subject to court decisions and possible rescission.  I suggest you start writing your congressbots or take advantage of your right to comment directly to the agency.  Slinging mud on a blog is not productive.

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
We burn a lot of coal in this

We burn a lot of coal in this country. I've watched the trains leaving West Virginia at Harper's Ferry. Every ten minutes or so a new train with loads and loads of coal ships out and it is amazing to watch. That coal is going to coal plants around the country that literally pollute the air and water every day because the pollution is considered non-point source and there is no way for the EPA to connect the arsenic and other heavy metals in your water supply with a particular plant.

I think something like 50% of coal plants don't have a scrubber that captures the coal ash leaving the burning stacks. All those heavy metals literally go right up into the atmosphere only to be deposited into your water supply during the next precipitation event. 

In addition, the waste from the coal that does not go into the atmosphere often ends up going to a location where the coal ash just sits. There are over 1,000 of these locations that do not even have a simple liner preventing the leaching of pollutants into ground water .

How many people have died from cancer or how many species of wildlife have suffered from mercury poisoning because the EPA has no authority to require that every plant has a scrubber to prevent atmospheric contamination or that every coal ash waste site has a liner to prevent leaching? This is something that I would expect the EPA should have done in the 80s, 90s, or at the very least a few years ago.

But no, today the EPA has failed to achieve this.

Nobody is saying that the EPA as an idea is a bad thing. It just would be nice if all the billions spent on the agency actually went towards effectively enforcing the clean air act or the clean water act. The EPA is barely reactive, and I certainly would not consider them proactive.

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
Good example!

EPA's mercury and air toxics regulations that impact coal plants: http://www.epa.gov/mats/actions.html

Are being challenged in the Supreme court by coal-producing states and industry: http://www.ibtimes.com/supreme-court-hear-arguments-case-against-epa-mer...

EPA may not win this legal challenge to the new regulations.

Let your legislators know how you feel about pollution. EPA has to have public support to be able to protect the environment.

There is just too much money to be gained by allowing pollution to be dealt with by public funding while the polluting industry keeps the profits.

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
10s of billions of dollars

10s of billions of dollars gets pumped into the EPA to enforce the clean water act and the clean air act. That should be all the EPA needs. At a minimum they should make a stronger effort to inform the public. My concerns and your concerns don't matter if 99.9999% of the population are more concerned with jenners sex change. 

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
One tenth of that

EPA budget has been shrinking over the last 5 years, air and water enforcement is given about 1 billion total now, and relies upon a smaller workforce.

See: http://www.foreffectivegov.org/blog/congress-slashes-epa-budget-again-de...

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/03/04/2015-budget-trimming-epa-funding/

Your point is well taken though. As people are focused on bread and circus, our environment is not improving. That is why it takes our voices to make the point that we value it and our taxes should be used to preserve environmental integrity, not to line the pockets of the rich polluters. If we, an informed group here at PP do not speak up, who else will do it?

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
Thanks Tall

Indeed Tall. Good point. I had read that the agency had a budget over 10 billion in the past, but that is no longer the case.

I think doing the tasks that you suggest would be like seeing a plastic bottle on the ground, picking it up, and recycling it.  Did removing that plastic bottle reduce waste and increase the aesthetics of the local area... Yes, but did it stop the Pacific plastic patch from forming? Not really.

It's something that is out of our control. Maybe I'm both pessimistic and lazy for believing that, but that is my reality.

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