Mr. Trump and the Swamp. Over at the EPA, its a draw.

In his campaign, Mr. Trump said we were going to be so successful that we would get tired of winning.  Count me as not yet weary.   Over the last few weeks, there were two big stories with EPA which are worth highlighting.  In general, Mr. Trump has gone with a full scale assault on the EPA’s swamp.  While many uncritically accept government as acting on the best interests of the people, more attentive citizens are aware that bureaucracies are not necessarily concerned with the public interest, but rather their own private interest.  Standard public choice theory advances “capture theory” whereby the regulatory agency may be “captured” by the very agency it is regulating.  While this is the most common way of thinking about regulatory capture, a more appropriate way would be to extend the capture not simply to the affected industry, but rather any special interest group.  Such it is with the EPA–it has been captured by the environmental movement, rather than by a specific business.  Its not particularly surprising, when to be against the EPA means you want poison in the air and water.  Who wants to be for that?

One area of EPA excess has been its use of consent decrees, where it encourages its allies (either progressive states or environmental groups) to sue the EPA.  Yes, the EPA wants to be sued.  Why? Because they can then settle with the organization that sued them (and oh by the way pay large attorneys fees to them) to agree to a set of actions that are beyond the scope of their legislative authority.  But then they can say that a court forced them to.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has put an end to this practice.

“The days of regulation through litigation are over,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  “We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle.”

Count this as one against the swamp.  But unfortunately we can get tired of winning here, because Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst joined with Democrats to inflict more damage on the public by rolling Mr. Trump over expanding ethanol requirements for gasoline.  Ethanol already inflicts damage on small engines that can’t handle its corrosive properties, and unfortunately attaining the very higher fuel efficiencies that government desires means we aren’t buying as much gas.  Which means that even with ethanol making up 10% of gasoline, its not high enough to get rid of all the subsidized ethanol.  Corn state Republicans are having none of that, and are forcing the EPA to continue and possibly increase the currently unattainable amount of ethanol that is mandated by the Renewable Fuels Standard.  The only solution would be to require ever higher concentrations of ethanol in our gasoline (well beyond the current 10%).  Mr. Grassley threatened to hold up Trump administration nominees if Big Ethanol were not given preferential treatment.  And beyond the material cost to an uneconomic destroyer of small gasoline engines, beyond the poor mileage that ethanol yields, its not even good for the environment.  All the corn that is grown to support this government program causes its own environmental issues.

Mr. Trump, can we please have some more winning?


42 thoughts on “Mr. Trump and the Swamp. Over at the EPA, its a draw.”

  1. While it may be against the party platform and even maybe campaign promises, one could, while playing devil’s advocate, say that Ernst and Grassley are merely being good representatives of their districts. If these ethanol measures would help their constituents, shouldn’t they vote for them? I’m not advocating for more regulation necessarily I’m just analyzing the role of representation through our electoral system.

    1. To respond to your devil’s advocate, we do have to consider what theory we are taking for federal representatives. It could be argued that their job is not to only represent their district and make the choices best for that one special interest group; instead, one could say that there job is to do what is best for the entire nation that will yield the best results for all of us in the long run. That being said, most people cannot see past their own desires and short run benefits to advocate for a policy that hurts their constituency today.

      1. To respond to your response to the devil’s advocate, it depends on whether you hold a broad or narrow view of senators in particular. Generally, senators were viewed as representatives of their states since they were more or less elected by state legislatures pre-17th amendment. Now, that has changed since they are now directly elected by the people, but they are still representatives of their states. In that way, we could say that they are responding in a rational manner. This action threatens an interest group in their state, so it’s rational to assume they will respond in kind. Of course, this doesn’t say much as to the wisdom of their actions (which are pretty unsound economically speaking), but it is rational for them to advocate strongly for their own states.

  2. Even though President Trump’s attack on the EPA is not currently moving very much in the right direction. It’s at the very least trying to go in the right direction. The previous administration was helping the EPA grow larger and larger, at least the Trump administration is not allowing it to grow further.

  3. I can’t remember if Trump ever specifically said the EPA should be dissolved, but I know some conservatives advocate that, on the grounds that environmental regulations and things like that aren’t in the powers given to the federal government in the Constitution, and therefore the EPA shouldn’t even exist. I am a little curious to know what you think of that position.

  4. I do not know many people that actually thought Trump was going to do everything that he said he was going to do. You point out yet another promise that has not yet come to fruition.

    1. I am assuming you are referring to the same president who promised “insurance for everybody” and whose chief economic adviser went on Good Morning America promising that “the wealthy are not getting a tax cut under our plan.”

      Why so many deluded and delusional evangelicals blindly still have faith in such an inveterate liar is sad. It may well do long-term damage to the gospel, I am afraid.

      1. “Why so many deluded and delusional evangelicals blindly still have faith in such an inveterate liar is sad. It may well do long-term damage to the gospel, I am afraid.”

        Most evangelicals, I would say, do not blindly have faith in Trump nor are they delusional. They recognize his faults but also realize that he is no more an inveterate liar than his opponent was so if you criticize Christians who voted for Trump, you must equally do so to Christians who voted for Clinton. Regardless, it will not do long term damage to the gospel. The gospel has survived far far greater challenges in the past 2,000 years than who Christians voted for in an election.

      2. Jeff
        I’m with Nathan here. Where is your evidence that there are “so many deluded and delusional evangelicals (that) still have faith in such an inveterate liar”? If you are concerned that this will do long-term damage to the gospel, I would question your understanding of the sovereignty of God. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will or can damage the gospel.

  5. The issues raised in this blog piece are small potatoes, considering Mr. Pruitt’s pseudoscientific opinion that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are not primarily responsible for the verifiable warming of the planet in recent decades.

    A real scientist–and not a partisan hack–would set forth scientific alternatives that explain why the planet has warmed so significantly over the last several decades. The greenhouse effect was established well over a century ago and is established science (then again, so is evolution and heliocentrism, but that does not stop deniers from refusing to accept the science that refutes their misguided notions).

    Funny how Mr. Pruitt wants now to end the excessive litigation considering the numerous times he himself sued the EPA while he was AG of OK.

    1. I will not deny that global warming is very much real. Statistically speaking, the earth’s temperature has warmed over the past few centuries. With that being said, we do not know the cause of global warming or if it is even a bad thing. It can be bad for the environment but it can also benefit some areas of the environment.

      Also, evolution is undeniably real; man 300 years ago is different than man today because the heritable traits are different. However, the evolution of one species to another is impossible and in fact, we have not seen it happen over a century ago because it never happened. For example, Darwin claimed whales were formed from hyenas over a span of 60 million years, which is impossible.

    2. Jeff,
      Heliocentrism can be proven by our current scientific data because it is observable. Evolution, at least the kind you say is true, was not observed and cannot be proven. Misguided science does not make it correct science. God’s Word is more believable than science when it comes to creation v evolution because He was there. No man obviously was there before Adam was created to observe it.

    3. More importantly, nobody has ever observed evolution. It is mere supposition based on a particular interpretation of evidence. It is a theory of origins and is not verifiable by the scientific method and is therefore not true science. Evolution is the origin belief of secular humanism and more properly falls into the category of religion.

  6. This reminds me of something that hits a little closer to home – I am from West Virginia and several family friends were among the 11 thousand miners that lost their jobs under President Obama. When running for president, Trump said to coal miners, “We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” and even promised, “You’re going back to work.” But it is safe to say, no matter how hopeful coal miners were when they heard Trump’s stretch to restore the coal industry, coal is dead and will probably never return. Unfortunately, this issue is viewed as Trump attacking the well-being and health of American people.

  7. It will be interesting to see how President Trump continues to “abolish” the EPA, as it was one of his campaign trail promises. It seems he has made some progress but has also regressed in some areas. This is definitely an issue worth keeping an eye on.

  8. I think it unfortunate when a presidential candidate makes such promises on the campaign trail. Mr. Trump, on the trail made huge (or shall I say ‘YUGE’ promises) which, upon taking office is realizing that they are much harder to carry out, which is both good and bad under our current checks and balances system. Nonetheless, he is currently at what some would consider a stalemate for the EPA issue. Yes, he hasn’t quite accomplished everything he promised, this may be due to a lack of support, or a lack of understanding the molasses-like speed in which big government actions require, yet we should still support him as our president and the one that God allowed to take charge. Mr. President, is and will continue to be our president for the time being.

  9. I found the linked article by the Yale School of Forestry on the Case against more Ethanol quite interesting. The case for more environmental damage because of ethanol instead of less is convincing to me. I also think that the linked environmental damage from growing the extra corn is significant as well. Finally, I appreciate their acceptance and analysis of the impact on corn prices. It is just silly that this is downplayed by many people as it is seemingly incontrovertible.

  10. Saving the environment is a good plan. The climate is undeniably changing and humans are playing a role in it. However, it is not the Federal Government’s responsibility to force everyone into changing their actions in order to preserve it. The rules are almost impossible to enforce and (just like anything else) people who can profit will make loopholes to avoid actually obeying the intent of the law. If there was some incentive to find a better alternative to gasoline besides ethanol, the free market would have it way faster than any government research program. If the government agrees to subsidize any form of alternative energy which meets basic requirements that is more efficient than fossil fuels instead of only ethanol/any other substitutes they currently have, then the nation and the environment would all be better off.

  11. This, in my opinion, is just another campaign promise that President Trump made that I do not think will be fulfilled. It is promising to see him attempt to tackle the EPA, but it does not seem possible. Even though he is not having much progress, it is still nice to see him doing something about it rather than supporting the EPA fully.

  12. I’m not really sure how well Trump can keep this promise, especially when lots of people support saving the environment and many politicians and influential people oppose him. I think that he should spend his time trying to help the economy, especially since he only has three years left.

  13. This short article gives a fair representation of how successful Trump has actually been. While he has succeeded in some sectors, I definitely am not tired of winning yet. I really liked the example of ethanol that was given in this article. Trump is trying to take on huge projects that I think may be even too big for him. While I like his efforts, I think that ultimately, he will need the backing of the entire Republican party to get many of the things done that he has promised.

  14. This reminds me of a paper I wrote on global warming. The federal government only funds scientists who support global warming, which further proves that the EPA is corrupt and that it should be abolished. I hope Trump is able to take care of the problems in the EPA, but I still think it serves a purpose.

  15. Trump is unable to win so much that ‘we all get tired of winning’ because he is constantly being thwarted at every turn. It seems to me that the ethanol and EPA issues here are part of a broader picture. That picture is this: Trump can’t win because opposing politicians (on both liberal and conservative parties, mind you) do everything in their power to stop him. Trump is trying his best to win, nobody can deny that. Personally however, I have seen very little actual winning in his administration thus far.

  16. I’m a bit confused as to what the EPA is actually doing with the ethanol vs what other groups/states want to be done. Could someone explain this a little differently?

    That being asked, it seems super sketchy that the EPA was practically asking to be sued. If you have to be sneaky like that, chances are, its probably a bad decision. What the EPA is doing seems very unethical.

  17. I live in central Ohio, and I see ethanol all the time at gas station. I knew that ethanol was less proficient than regular gas, but I did not know that ethanol damages the engine to small vehicle. Interesting article.

  18. On one hand we are running out of fossil fuels from my understanding, so the ethanol push sounds good, but the ethanol tearing up small engines, accompanied by more and more electric cars being on the market is leading to a reduction of ethanol gasoline purchases. Legislative groups dishing out subsidies are going to have to sit down and evaluate the opportunity costs of providing a subsidy for ethanol. Either they will have to increase the subsidy to sell more, or they will just get rid of the subsidy all together. Both are quite humbling in their own respects, as one seeks even more money from the American people, while the other basically declares the ethanol push a failure. Let’s see how much pride influences the public sector operating on self interest.

  19. It is hard to bash Ernst and Grassley because they where elected by their represented population to represent their population and as they represent states that produce most of this ethanol it makes sense that these states would push this even though if is harmful to the environment and small engines. When it comes to Trump I believe that most Christian Republicans are not so blind that they follow and believe everything that comes from Trumps mouth. If you criticize Christians who back Trump then you should criticizes all Christians who vote because all politicians are corrupt.

  20. It’s good to see that Scott Pruitt is making the EPA put a stop to what could be described as ‘shady business.’ I also think that it is sad to see that someone would push for these policies pertaining to ethanol. We should be doing what we can to take care of our environment and I do think that the EPA can still have a good role to play in protecting the environment, but we do need to understand that it is our job to take care of the world that God gave to us and made us stewards over.

  21. To start I want to point out that even though Trump promises that we will get tired of winning, we knew this would not happen. Obviously some things are not going to go through because the balance of democrat and republican views.

    On a separate not, it is very odd that EPA was having its allies sue them to pay large amounts in attorney’s fees. It’s a good thing that the EPA administrator is putting an end to this.

  22. I don’t think that there will ever be a mass movement against the EPA, as a lot of people remain rationally ignorant about all of its flaws and its excess. Instead, being uninformed, it seems like standing against the EPA means that you want our environment to be poisoned, which nobody is likely to advocate for. Unfortunately, this makes it hard to find a solution that is actually beneficial to the environment while not getting caught up in industry.

  23. It would be nice if every time someone made a promise that they were able to keep it, but often times that is not true. While Trump’s intentions may be well meant, it will be impossible for him to keep all of his campaign promises, and unfortunately, this may be an area where he is unable to do what he would like or what he

  24. As the son of a corn farmer, this issue hits pretty close to home for me. It seems there has always been a cornfield around me wherever I went in life. Whether it was school, church, or home, they were all always characterized by being small and in the middle of nowhere next to a cornfield. From that upbringing I always thought of ethanol as a good thing, and I always thought it was cool that we could power cars with something that I was so familiar with. However after reading your article, and the article you have given a link to, I see that I was mistaken to think so highly of ethanol.

  25. It is sad to see the struggle between Trump and the EPA. Trump is really stuck in the middle of the battle because it would be a great win if ethanol could be lowered in our gasoline, but it would greatly anger the Republicans from corn-states. I believe that Trump does have to hurt the ethanol business, but then maybe give a small amount of money to the farmers that he put out of business, so that they could start on new crops.

  26. It seems as though President Trump’s presidency has been a disappointing one so far. The attraction to Trump in the beginning of the presidential race was his ability to promise grand political ventures the would actually make a difference and shake the political landscape. However, the EPA is simply another instance where his presidential run has failed. He really has not accomplished much, and it is beginning to become rather depressing watching other politicians try and gut his strategies at every turn.

  27. It’s difficult to get an agenda across when others, such as the EPA, don’t agree with that agenda. President Trump has said that we are going to have some victory, and he really should try to stick to that. Regardless of the circumstances, he said something and he needs to follow through with it.

  28. It is a tough situation to see happen before your eyes. Trump has the right motives for trying to abolish EPA, but I do think it is going to be a really tough assignment to follow through on. There are way too many people who are in support of EPA, making the obstacles for Trump high in quantity.

  29. Concerning this issue, I feel extremely uninformed and am not entirely sure where I stand. However, from what I can gather I’m somewhat skeptical as to how realistic Trump keeping this promise truly is. It seems to me that energy and resources would be better put to use focusing on other aspects of the countries interests. Yet, in saying that I do not feel it is likely to happen; rather this will remain as what is another failed promise and instance of what can only be explained as a disappointing presidential run thus far.

  30. Trump had to say that we would be tired of winning to make Americans vote for him. Many of them were empty promises but it let the American people believe in something. Now that many of the things Mr. Trump has said would be successful arent going as well as planned, so people are getting frustrated with him. It is crazy to see all of the corruption that goes behind the motives of companies and people in power. The EPA should be a really good company that could benefit the environment, and make a global change, but private issues prevent this from happening. It sucks to see this corruption in what could be a really good company.

  31. It seems impossible for the EPA to walk the line between advancing their mission (protecting the environment and human health) while not advancing the special interest group that pushes for that very thing. How could the EPA be antagonistic towards the people that see the necessity of its services? I do not see the compatibility between the EPA and environmentalist as such a dangerous phenomenon.

  32. It seems strange to me that the big problem that I see discussed is the positive relationship between the people who would like to see the environment protected and the agency in the government that is supposed to protect said environment. I may be misunderstanding the point of the article but that does not seem like a problem to me.

  33. While I have some hope left that Trump does have a few positive qualities as a politician and does want to win, what I do see that is apparent is that almost no one in politics wants to see him win. No matter what he does, it is thwarted, or at least attempted to be deconstructed. Also, although I know for a fact that Trump won’t do what he claims he was going to during the election process, I do hope he makes some sort of stand for the environment. I believe it’s a very important issue that’s quite frankly often overlooked.

  34. This shows another way that promises have not been kept past the election. Although we can not expect everything that was promised to be kept it is disappointing when plans fall through. This article was an interesting opinion with what the President is struggling with in regards to ethanol and the EPA.

Comments are closed.