The letters E,P, and A have come to be almost as self-explanatory as F, B, and I - - EPA, of course is Environmental Protection Agency, and FBI refers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There have been a number of waggish modifications to the FBI acronym, and Im starting to look for the same thing to attach to EPA. One that has come to my own mind is Exceptionally Provocative Application. That one came to me as I read a column from the Washington Post Writers Group - - specifically Dana Milbank - - reporting on a news conference of sorts at EPA headquarters, starring the savagely incisive Gina McCarthy. Im wondering if anybody else recalls the general commentary that came with her appointment. It seems to me there was a lot of she knows the business, and shes well aware, and perhaps there were even expressions of hope for reasonableness, which many of us had come to realize had abandoned Ms McCarthys predecessor- - Ive already forgotten her name.
The occasion for that news conference was the presentation of a new rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30% at existing power plants. Milbank speaks of McCarthys unambiguous and uncompromising words should delight environmental advocates and frighten industrialists.
Whoever, McCarthy said, said the sword isnt mightier than the pen, theyre absolutely right. Weve heard a variety of industry estimates on the cost to the U.S. Economy of the campaign for such drastic cuts to programs contributing to carbon dioxide emissions. McCarthy contends the cost to us will be more like a gallon of milk per month. Milbank concludes that column with the observation, Love McCarthys message, or hate it, her honesty is refreshing. I disagree with that. I find nothing refreshing in her honest effort to bulldoze a controversial rule over the nation with nothing much more than a Presidential nod, and without even a nod to the appropriate members of Congress.
McCarthy also, of course, is at the head of the pack of those intent on rewriting the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule change would deliver to EPA, jurisdiction over Waters of theUnited States. That new rule, if enacted, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, would enable EPA to regulate even roadside ditches. That, I think, would cause all manner of problems for folks in rural America - - thats where the ditches are.
And, as for that clumsy reference to the pen versus the sword - - The phrase she tried to quote was coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his play Richelier; Or the Conspiracy, 1839.
It reads, True, This!-Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The pen is mightier than the sword.
Karl Guenther is a retired Kalamazoo farm broadcaster and can be reached at email@example.com . He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. (accompanying picture is a screen capture from YouTube)