- - Monday, August 17, 2015

Imagine an agency charged with protecting the environment, aptly named the Environmental Protection Agency. Because, you see, we need to protect the environment, and we need a government cudgel with which to do it. We need a gigantic, unaccountable, malevolent, incompetent and lawless agency with which to “save” the beauty of the world around us. Instead, it’s responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in recent memory.

The EPA’s release of 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a major river system now affecting three states is exactly what all of us should expect from our federal government. It’s a perfect example of what we’ve allowed to occur with a government so big it’s impossible to function properly and when it does get out of its lounge chair it makes things worse.

EPA Chief Gina McCarthy says she takes full responsibility for the disaster. I suppose she had no choice but to admit her agency was at fault, as blaming George W. Bush or the Koch Brothers or conservatives in general does have its limits.

For some perspective on the damage, CNN reports water sampled from the Animas River in Colorado after the spill “contained extremely high levels of arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and mercury. It also contained zinc, iron and copper.” In the case of lead, it tested at 12,000 times the normal level.

In the aftermath of the atrocity, Ms. McCarthy has declared that the Animas River is “restoring itself” and is already back to “pre-event conditions.” Ms. McCarthy did “tour” the site last week. Maybe just her presence changed the now arsenic and lead polluted waters into a magical clean. This, despite the fact that experts and environmentalists have voiced concern that the heavy metal sludge will simply settle at the bottom of the rivers, remaining as a contaminant for years to come.

But why mention that unpleasant fact when you can just declare it fixed. I bet BP would have loved that solution after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. “The ocean is restoring itself. Yeehaw.”

For some reason, the EPA tried very hard to keep the EPA contractor responsible for the spill from the public eye. Unfortunately for them, another alphabetical, this time the WSJ, ruined their plan and revealed Environmental Restoration (ER) LLC was the “contractor whose work caused a mine spill in Colorado that released an estimated 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a major river system.”

This same WSJ report indicated the subcontractor responsible for the spill has received 381 million dollars from taxpayers since 2007.

Like tentacles of an octopus gone mad, every agency has gone off the rails with the EPA providing just the latest punch in the head. First, we have the Department of Justice (DOJ) deliberately sending guns into the hands of drug cartels and other criminals.

Health and Human Services (HHS) facilitating Obamacare, a massive and already failed program ostensibly meant to lower health care costs but sending the cost of getting health care into the stratosphere and making good health care an unattainable luxury only for the rich.

The Veterans Administration (VA) ignoring veterans to death. Literally.

The IRS becoming a weaponized agency targeting conservatives.

And now the EPA, another alphabet with a noble moniker that no one can disagree with, but whose very existence makes everything worse.

Incompetence is one thing, and malevolence and corruption quite another. When the government has turned its bureaucrats into vile henchmen you know failure up and down the line is inevitable. The EPA is no exception.

While the toxic sludge river spill is in the news now, don’t forget these other headlines providing a little sample of the nature of that agency and every aspect of the federal government:

• “EPA denies pressuring Navajos into waiving rights to future payments in river disaster.”

• “Judge rules EPA lied about transparency, tells agency to halt discrimination against conservatives.”

• ” ‘Doing an IRS’? EPA can’t find top official’s text messages.”

• “Poll: ‘Only 32 percent … view the EPA favorably.’ “

• “EPA commits $100K to ‘addressing bed bugs in rural Alaska.’ “

When they’re not polluting a major waterway with toxic arsenic sludge, what else is the EPA doing to “protect the environment”? Banning wood stoves.

As Forbes reports, “The EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents. …” Control and punishment, that’s all it’s about.

America is awash in malevolent alphabets: The DOJ, HHS, IRS, DHS, EPA to name a few. Agencies which must exist, we’re told, for our own good. Because life without them would be hell. Agencies we pay for because we want what the Founders wanted: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The reality, however, is the federal government and its powerful and lawless enforcers (aka “agencies”) have become nothing more than incompetent and malevolent gangs, looking out only for themselves while executing a mission to control and punish the citizen.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk show host.

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