Defunding the EPA won't hurt its ability to regulate 

One of the issues coming out of the proposed fiscal year 2012 budget is the funding level for the Environmental Protection Agency. President Obama, in a move to try and appease both the business community and those concerned about the deficit, agreed to a reduction in the EPA's budget of $1.3 billion. The resulting $9 billion budget is still too much for Republicans, who are looking to reduce the agencies funding by an additional $1.5 billion to $7.5 billion.

The real problem here, though, isn't how much money the EPA is receiving, but the authority that EPA has to regulate. If Republicans are looking to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, for instance, simply cutting funds isn't enough.

Congress passes the laws, but federal agencies are the ones delegated to hammer out the details and create rules to accomplish their directives. These rules are given the power of law, and Congress is often powerless to stop the bureaucrats. Theoretically, even if the EPA budget is cut to zero, it still retains the power to create rules regulating carbon emissions, despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly rejected bills to regulate them.

The EPA cuts will create budgetary savings and perhaps even make it more difficult for EPA to harrass businesses. But if Republicans are looking to curtail the power of the EPA and their ability to regulate greenhouse gasses, they'll have to do more.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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