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Daily Caller’s epic EPA fail

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I can’t remember the last time I saw a publication get a story as blatantly wrong as the Daily Caller’s dubious “scoop” this week, claiming the Environmental Protection Agency is going to hire 230,000 new workers.

Here’s the background. The EPA is trying to enact a new, controversial “tailoring” rule allowing it to focus enforcement of greenhouse gas emissions on just the biggest polluters, “shielding small polluters from rigid Clean Air Act permitting requirements.” The New York Times quoted EPA as saying without the tailoring rule, about 6 million facilities could need permits for greenhouse gas standards.

Industry groups are suing EPA to strike down the tailoring rule and pare back EPA’s enforcement of the Clean Air Act. On Sept. 16, the Justice Department filed a brief on behalf of EPA arguing the tailoring rule is legit, and if it were lifted, the cost of enforcing the Clean Air Act on everyone would be crushing — both to government and industry. Justice said:

[...] immediately applying the literal PSD statutory threshold [...] would result in annual PSD permit applications submitted to State and local permitting agencies to increase nationwide from 280 to over 81,000 per year, a 300-fold increase. [...] Hiring the 230,000 full-time employees necessary to produce the 1.4 billion work hours required to address the actual increase in permitting functions would result in an increase in Title V administration costs of $21 billion per year. [Emphasis added]

That’s a worst-case scenario, and pretty clear that they’re arguing against enforcing the regulations on everyone. But how did Daily Caller play it?

The EPA is asking taxpayers to fund up to 230,000 new government workers to process all the extra paperwork, at an estimated cost of $21 billion.

Really? At a time when agencies across the government are facing massive budget crunches, buying out employees left and right, and in some cases considering layoffs, the EPA’s work force of 19,000 is going to suddenly grow by a factor of 13? Increasing the size of the overall government by more than 10 percent? Not to mention the fact that EPA has not submitted any requests for $21 billion budget increases, and would get laughed out of Congress if they did. (For the record, EPA asked for almost $9 billion total in fiscal 2012, a 13 percent decline from 2010.) The whole idea doesn’t pass the smell test.

Politico jumped all over it Tuesday. And Erik Wemple of the Post reports that Daily Caller didn’t give EPA a call to allow them to respond, or even check to see if they were … um … actually planning to hire nearly a quarter-million new employees.

Daily Caller doubled down Wednesday and said they’re standing by their story (in an editor’s note that contained several swipes at liberal groups). They shouldn’t. It’s a piece of lousy journalism, and betrays a clear lack of understanding of the current realities of the federal work force and budget environment.



  1. NormfromGA Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 8:50 am

    The Daily Caller obviously misread the court ruling, and should have retracted its earlier report.

    However, one should also consider what the court DID say:

    That if the statutes passed by Congress were carried out by the EPA as written, the burden on both industry and the taxpayer would be considered onerous, even in the best of times.

    On the other hand, one could also infer that, reducing the effort to the level the government can afford, and applying this burden only to those only companies that can afford to comply makes no more environmental sense than the international treaties that allow third-world manufacturers to flaunt greenhouse gas restrictions.

    Either a regulation needs to be enforced across the board, or it should be rescinded; it’s that simple!

  2. Bill Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    As the fourth quarter begins the market dive continues…….

    One can only conclude that a majority of companies and consumers are on strike.

    Got money in the bank?. Save it. Got equity in your home? Keep it Got an operations budget? re-examine it and contain costs…

    Guess what America, that’s what is happening. Consumers, Banks, and Corporations are not going to bail the Obummer administration out. Encouraging class warfare and crushing the individual entrepreneurial spirit won’t work. Suing the banks and sending the NLRB out as your Trumpka in-your-pocket attack dog won’t work either.

    So we are just going to vent our rage online, vent in the lame scream media, vent to our friends on Facebook and YouTube, and most importantly we are going to WAIT while we vent…………………

    As we wait we will save. Save money, save on expenses, save on reduced costs, save on postponed purchases, save with store brands, save with Amazon, save with Ebay, save with Craigslist, save with the local flea market, save with the sale of our “garage clutter”, save with roommates, save with a downsize in autos purchased, save with the brown bag lunch, save by cutting cable tv, save by tele-commuting, and finally save with a downsize from the McMansion if it can even be sold.

    Someday soon someone will come to the forefront to run against our current Clown in Chief.

    When this person arises from the ashes of the current “felony stupid” administration (kudos to Rep. Issa) we will focus laser like on electing this person to undo this nightmare…….. Money will pour into this challenger’s Pay Pal connected coffers and the internet media will take center stage getting the word out. Internet enabled persons will continue to be at the forefront of the “new media” with their Smartphones, I-Phones, and other yet to be named on-scene live streaming capabilities. The new internet news reporters will surpass the traditional media in their raw unfiltered “truth of the moment” audio and video moments. This new norm is also a warning to all to be careful since NOTHING is off the record in these unscripted moments. YouTube is a blessing and a curse depending on which side of the screen you are on.

    The punditry tells us we are scared, we don’t like uncertainty, and we lack leadership.
    Bulls**t………..we are enraged, we are certain, we are going to get real leadership in 2012 and it will not be coming from the Democrats.

    November 2010 was a trickle, November 2012 will be a tectonic shift.

  3. Lee Says:
    October 11th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Amen Bill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!