The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was initiated in the year 1970 under the reign of the then President Richard Nixon. At the time, the agency had only 4,000 employees and was allocated a budget of $1 billion to make the American environment and air clean again. Fast-forward 47 years later, the agency prides itself with over 15,000 employees and is now mandated to deal with a wide array of environmental activities including nuclear wastes and even mercury spills in high school science laboratories. EPA’s budget currently stands at $ 8 billion. Paradoxically, some members of the Congress want EPA to be eliminated. A bill to terminate this controversial Agency by the end of 2018 was proposed earlier this year by Rep. Matt Gaetz (Somers). This paper will focus on the pros and cons of EPA’s policy which restricts construction of power plants in a bid to curb the emission of CO2.
EPA was established in an era when there was high concern over environmental pollution. Ever since its inception, EPA has been the only agency that consolidates all federal research, the setting of standards, monitoring, and enforcement of set standards to protect the environment. Besides heavy criticism, EPA has worked hard to ensure Americans have a cleaner and healthier environment. From increasing recycling to cleaning up toxic wastes; from protecting the ozone layer to regulating emissions, all the agency has accomplished has resulted in purer water, better land and cleaner air ("EPA History: Agency Accomplishments | US EPA"). All these achievements could be said to be the merits of EPA’s policies.
However, EPA faces stiff opposition due to some of its regulations. One of these regulations is the policy that limits construction of power plants to reduce the emission of CO2. The law is a hindrance to utility companies since they cannot be able to build new power plants. For this reason, Americans have ended up having less electricity. Residents of California have fallen victims with their utility rates skyrocketing from 500% to 600% within a year. Another drawback is that the policy limits economic growth and peoples use of their property and resources. Small business owners are crying foul since they cannot afford to pay for the costs associated with compliance which results in closure and unemployment. Furthermore, EPA’s overregulation is a great barrier to entry into markets and is a great expense to businesses trying to stay competitive (Lehr). Americans are looking forward to Trump’s government to revamp the EPA policy.
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