Few agencies are more bloated, less responsive and more out of control that the EPA. They are the most loathed agency nationally for those who have been unfortunate enough to have had the occasion to deal with them. They are detested at levels even exceeding the animosity created by the IRS. Today Congress sent a strong message to Gina McCarthy and her band of bureaucratic bandits, cutting their funding to the tune of $70 million.
The Gosar Amendment redirected those funds towards something that actually benefits people and the environment, wildfire prevention. Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) redirected funds from the EPA’s Program and Management account to the Forest Service’s Hazardous Fuels account. Rep Gosar wrote:
“The power of the purse is an effective way to send a message to all federal agencies; ‘Shape up or lose your funding.’ With our skyrocketing federal debt, it is long past time that Congress prevent unnecessary federal dollars from going to lawless agencies, like the EPA, that care more about pursuing their own misguided political agenda than the well-being of the American people.
“Instead of squandering more taxpayer money paying the salaries of unnecessary EPA bureaucrats, I’m pleased to see the House pass my amendment redirecting scarce resources to important wildfire prevention activities. Thinning overgrown forests and removing hazardous fuels creates good-paying jobs and increases overall forest health. I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate proactive fiscal policy, while reining in a lawless agency, than passage of this commonsense amendment.”
Gosar’s statement noted that the 2015 fire season had set records, burning 10,125,149 acres nationally. While the request for appropriations was $4 billion to cover all wildfire programs, only $356 million were earmarked for hazardous fuels reduction activities. Funding for those operations often falls victim to the urgency of fire emergencies, leading to more fires and more CO2, which the EPA will then attempt to compensate for at the expense of economic activity.
Education funding is also negatively impacted by wildfires as 25 percent of the receipts from timber harvested by the federal government go towards education. Timber burned in wildfires is lost education revenue, infrastructure financing and lost employment income.
Clearly, Gosar’s amendment is a winner for all parties involved with the exception of the overbearing EPA authoritarians. As is usually the case, their loss is the rest of the nation’s gain.
This is a start, a symbolic smack down of the overbearing EPA, but there’s so much more. It’s the proverbial drop in the bucket. Still, it’s something, a little thing, anything and better than what we normally get, nothing.