- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2001

The president is doing his best to protect us from the Environmental Protection Agency. Now that Al Gore isnt around trying to convince us that the sky is falling, President Bush is putting the brakes on some of the more outlandish endeavors of the EPA. The past efforts of these invaders of private property have so many lawsuits under way and pending that Interior Secretary Gale Norton feels they are spending more time in court than in the field counting creatures.

It seems the Fish and Wildlife Service is up to its hip boots in lawsuits that relate to more than 400 species, and is also looking at 95 more suits affecting 600 species. As a result, Mrs. Norton wants Congress to expand her powers so she can prevent lawsuits aimed at getting even more endangered species listed. At the present time, there are about 1,200 species on the government list, with more on the way. When it comes to out-of-control government agencies, the EPA is taking the place of the reined-in IRS.

While the government is trying to add species to the already overcrowded list, they have decided to cool it on the global-warming debate and to review how much arsenic is acceptable in our drinking water. They are even considering opening up some of the off-limits forested land to the taxpayers that bought it. How did we create an agency that can prevent the building of an airport or a dam because some bugs might be lost and decide how much arsenic we can drink?

The EPA is the best thing to happen to lawyers since OSHA. The environmentalists can´t win for losing. While they are busy in the courts trying to prevent the building of dams, highways and what have you, they are at the same time preventing the government´s ability to enforce the Endangered Species Act. It´s good they can keep each other busy, and perhaps the more lawsuits we have, the less interference there will be in the lives of American citizens.

While we seem to concentrate on protecting endangered species, no one is doing anything about species that have proliferated far beyond their natural means. I´m referring to cats. There are entirely too many cats. We definitely need an overpopulated species list and an agency to address the problem. There are other species, such as mosquitoes, that need reducing. There is also the crab grass and dandelion problem. Plenty of work for bureaucrats in a new Washington agency.

Utah, Idaho, Alaska and the Boise Cascade Co. are already challenging the anti-road building policy in roadless areas of our parks. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada are also looking at legal challenges to the policy that prevents roads and logging. If the parks are truly for the people, then the people should be able to enjoy them without having to backpack into them. The environmental zealots have hoodwinked Congress into believing the end is near. It´s time for an EPA overhaul.


Dick Boland is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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