Bootstrapping Regulatory Power

It used to be that the regulatory power of government agencies was delegated and specified by acts of Congress.  Now, it seems, they can just give themselves broad new powers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it analyzes problems and makes decisions, in a way that would give it vastly expanded power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development,” the centerpiece of a global United Nations conference slated for Rio de Janeiro next June.



  1. Pakkinpoppa:

    Some pigs are more equal than others.

  2. caseyboy:

    Congress has willingly delegated its powers to the executive branch (bureaucracy). It passes broad laws and lets the agencies fill in the details. A very dangerous practice that Congress has accepted for the past 20 to 30 years.

  3. Smock Puppet, Frequent Fantasy Flyer:


    Dude, this shackle was released decades ago.

    Congress passed a law in the 1970s or 1980s which defacto gave the government bureaucracies the power to place regulations in the Federal Register, and, if they are not challenged in some fixed period, about 90 days, IIRC, then from that point on they have Force of Law.
    As with laws, you can challenge them in court but this was a significant downgrade to the ability to control the size and power of government.

    Annoyingly, such a blatantly ridiculous law stood up to challenge in court.

    Probably needs a good lawsuit by a sensible organization to encourage the SCotUS to revisit this rather clearly unConstitutional delegation of legislative power.


  4. Bob Smith:

    EPA wants control of local zoning across the US in order to impose Smart Growth on everybody.

  5. Patrick Moffitt:

    If you wish to see Agenda 21/EPA sustainability run amok at the State level you need look no further than PlanMaryland -the fix for pesky market forces.
    " in the absence of a set of policies and strategies for containing development and prioritizing the highest and best use of all land in the State, there is no reason to believe that market forces alone will produce development that is smart, sustainable, and balances the competing demands made on limited resources."
    So we need enlightened sustainability commissioners to make those choices for us.

    Its simply amazing what cars force people to do according to Maryland bureaucrats trying to promote mass transit as panacea:
    "Baby boomers in search of affordable housing “sprawled” into the suburbs creating dispersed development which “forced” the reliance on automobiles and long commutes."
    Kind of sounds like a plague spreading across the landscape- doesn't it?
    Cars are also unjust because ethnic minorities and aging citizens rely on transportation- therefore the "low development pattern of the suburbs will, in the future, need to be remade so that the population is less dependent on automobiles." Walking and Bicycles make up a big part of the future for Maryland-all justified to be in our heath interests.

    Here's another example of the reach:
    “We cannot talk about farmland without discussing the major shifts in our approaches to raising, processing, buying, and eating food, all of which have a profound use on land use and the environment..”.....“Residents of Maryland’s metropolitan and rural population centers have efficient access to locally produced, high quality, nutritious food, employment opportunities, natural environments for recreation and enrichment, and high quality schools, without excessive travel, consumption of energy and degradation of the State’s resources.”
    How could this possibly go off the rails?
    A guidance example for the type of non-monetary "well being" metrics (sustainability) to be administered by Maryland's bureaucrats when making infrastructure, agriculture, housing and nearly every other conceivable choice once made by non-bureaucrats is a link to the Happy Planet Index.
    Model Happy Planet Countries are Cuba, Guatemala, Laos, China and Viet Nam- near the bottom of the list of the "happy countries list" and well below such happy places as Haiti, Iran and Algeria comes the the most unhappiest of countries- the US just edging out Nigeria and Tanzania. (When I first saw this I thought it was satire- alas it is not)

    Maryland is in the find stages of passing PlanMaryland. Sigh.

  6. Jeff:

    We are on the path oracles and shamans. Soon, in order to get the proper permit to build or do anything, you'll have to:

    1. Go to your local sustainability bureaucrat (shaman).
    2. Bring the appropriate environmental impact study, permit application and fee (offering).
    3. The bureaucrat will run the sustainability computer model(consult the spirits/ancestors/gods).
    4. Changes to your plans will be required to meet "sustainable growth targets". (arbitrary additional sacrifice).

    It's not about the environment, it's about raw power. Tyranny with an earth sticker.

  7. Patrick Moffitt:

    The most honest definition I have heard yet was from a 1995 paper by John Holdren
    "You cannot talk about sustainability without talking about people, about politics, about power and control.”

  8. Not Sure:

    "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to ... regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development...”

    Because nothing says "sustainable development" quite like government growth.