- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2014

But it seemed like such a good idea at the time: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was founded with much fanfare and good will in 1970, when green thinking and eco-mindedness was a righteous thing indeed.

Now the EPA is deemed “a rogue agency” that has outlived its purpose and “should be dismantled and replaced.” So says the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit that has a plan on how to do just that.

“It made sense for there to be a single national agency given authority to enforce the nation’s new environmental protection laws in the first decade of the 1970s. But by the end of that decade, the lion’s share of benefits from that noble experiment were already achieved and the states could have been, and should have been, allowed to play their intended role in implementing the new programs,” says science director Jay Lehr, who authored the policy study.

Instead of reforming the EPA, he proposes creating something called a “Committee of the Whole,” which has a certain 1970s ring to it. It would include all 50 state environmental protection agencies, and would replace the federal agency over a five-year period.

“Fifty state environmental protection agencies with more than 30 years of experience have the talent to do the job without the oversight of 15,000 federal employees. It is, after all, well known that government close to the location of the governed is best for all,” Mr. Lehr says.

TRULY THE HEROIC

Almost three-fourths of Syria’s chemical weapons have been destroyed. A round of respectful cheers, please, for the military and civilian specialists aboard the U.S. container ship MV Cape Ray, all 650 feet of it, afloat on the Mediterranean Sea and given the task of neutralizing the chemical materials. The 35 mariners, 64 chemical specialists, a security team, and a contingent from U.S. European Command have been at it 24 hours a day since July 7, according to the Defense Department.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has confirmed the crew has destroyed 74.2 percent of Syria’s chemical stockpile — which originally amounted to 620 tons, according to figures released last week.

This is old-school, can-do effort. The ship has an onboard, seagoing hydrolysis system specially modeled after systems once developed by the former Aberdeen Chemical Demilitarization Facility — which had the fantastic acronym of ABCDF before it closed in 2007.

The hydrolysis process essentially mixes the bad chemicals with neutralizing agents; there are further treatments until the material is safe enough for standard shipping containers, and ultimately, commercial waste-treatment facilities.

In the words of the sages, way to go. And thanks.

AND WHAT THE REPORTER SAW

Which is not much. While the jittery mainstream media gets increasingly vocal about President Obama’s golf games and fundraising amid global crisis, there is some news from the boots-on-the-ground crowd in Martha’s Vineyard, on vacation with the president and his family.

“After an uneventful 21-minute ride past verdant fields, clapboard houses and one animated woman who threw the motorcade the shaka sign, the president and First Family is taking advantage of the weather and is spending a day at the beach in Edgartown. The name of the beach is not known,” Washington Post reporter Katie Zezima noted in an official report of the day.

Two and a half hours later, she added, “POTUS’s beach day in Edgartown is over. It’s unclear if the rest of the family is on the move or hanging out at the beach for a bit longer. POTUS is in the motorcade, which is rolling at 3:33 pm.”

Story Continues →