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06/26/2017

Calvin Terbeek on EPA Originalism
Michael Ramsey

Calvin TerBeek (guest blogging) at the Faculty Lounge: Transportable Originalism. From the introduction:

The Environmental Protection Agency has long been a bete noire of movement conservatives. The story of "The Other Rights Revolution," the title of Jefferson Decker's important new study of conservative public interest litigation groups' attack on the regulatory state, supplies the bulk of the story. But of course dislike of the EPA wasn't limited to conservative lawyers. Tom DeLay would often tell reporters that his time as a suburban Houston bug exterminator led him to view the agency as "the Gestapo," a characterization he held onto until his resignation from the House after being indicted. And the EPA was helpfully offered by Mitt Romney when Rick Perry ran into a mental roadblock at a 2012 Republican presidential debate.

It is not surprising, then, that Politico reports:

What Administrator Scott Pruitt calls his “Back to Basics” agenda would refocus the agency on narrow goals such as cleaning up toxic waste and providing safe drinking water — the kinds of issues that inspired the EPA’s creation in 1970 amid a public outcry about burning rivers and smog-filled skies. But it would abandon the Obama administration’s climate regulations, along with other efforts that Pruitt argues exceed the agency’s legal authority. 

What is interesting is how Pruitt is explaining the changes: "EPA originalism" that will lead to "a restoration of [the EPA's] priorities."