Heartland Institute Presents More than 16,000 Petitions to Congress: Rein in the EPA

Published November 27, 2012

The Heartland Institute on Tuesday held an event on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) in which it presented petitions signed by more than 16,000 Americans demanding Congress rein in the Environmental Protection Agency.

[Read the op-ed on today’s event by Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast at The Daily Caller.]

The preamble of Heartland’s petition states, in part:

“EPA has become a rogue agency, spending billions of dollars (approximately $9 billion in 2012) directly and imposing on individuals and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars in compliance costs. …

“The toll EPA is now taking on our country is staggering, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work at a time when millions of people are unemployed and our reliance on foreign sources of energy threatens to compromise the nation’s security. …

“The solution is to rein in EPA through deep cuts in the size, power, and cost of the agency.”

The petition asks Congress to repeal EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide in the name of man-caused “global warming” and demand cost-benefit analysis be applied to all environmental regulations. It also insists EPA reform its politicized and unreliable scientific research program and return to sound science and common sense.

“The toll our EPA is taking on the country is staggering, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work at a time when millions of people are unemployed and our reliance on foreign sources of energy threatens to compromise the nation’s security,” said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute. “Now more than 16,000 Americans have signed a petition demanding Congress rein in this rogue agency. It’s time for our representatives in Washington heed the message.”

The Heartland Institute petition notes that the EPA was created in 1970 to protect the air, land, and waterways of the U.S. from harmful pollution. It goes on to state: “Thanks in part to the agency’s efforts, Americans today enjoy a vastly cleaner environment – among the healthiest in the industrialized world. Yet over the years, EPA has become a rogue agency grasping for ever-more illegitimate power that does little or nothing to protect the environment.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attended the Capitol Hill event to support Heartland’s petition drive at a time the EPA is considering even stricter regulations on energy production — especially hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. “Fracking,” as it is often called, has created tens of thousands of jobs in the United States, and energy experts say it could go a long way toward making America more energy-independent.

However, the EPA in a new Obama administration is considering new rules on energy production that could severely restrict fracking — an energy-extraction technology that Inhofe noted got its start in his home state.

“I happen to be from Oklahoma,” Inhofe said. “The first hydraulic fracturing job was done in 1949 in my state of Oklahoma, and there’s never been a documented case of ground-water contamination in its history — with over a million applications of hydraulic fracturing.”

Another point The Heartland’s Institute is pushing in its petition drive to rein in the EPA is the fact state agencies already do a good job protecting the land, air, and water in their jurisdictions. Heartland says putting more regulatory authority into the hands of the states will result in more-sensible and focused environmentmental management, encourage economic growth, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

“EPA’s budget could safely be cut by 80 percent or more without endangering the environment or human health,” Dr. Jay Lehr, science director of The Heartland Institute and a leading authority on water pollution and environmental protection, said in a press release for the petition drive. “Most of what EPA does today could be done better by state government agencies, many of which didn’t exist or had much less expertise back in 1970, when EPA was created.”

The Heartland Institute will continue to collect petitions — and has, in fact, collected several hundred more since announcing its Capitol Hill event. Congress will be notified of the petition count on a quarterly basis.

[Watch Fox News Channel Coverage of The Heartland Institute EPA petition event on Capitol Hill below.]