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Wingnut Outrage of the Week: The EPA's "$21B Expansion"

Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 12:52:22 pm

The right wing Assembly Line of Outrageous Outrages just keeps churning out bogus stories. It takes a lot of man hours to keep the Republican base as crazed and out of touch with reality as possible, but the wingnut media and blogosphere are always on the job.

The latest chorus of loony paranoia was launched by The Daily Caller, in a highly misleading article that claimed the EPA was about to expand their personnel to 230,000, at a cost of $21 billion: EPA: Regulations would require 230,000 new employees, $21 billion.

This outrage spread almost instantly throughout the right wing echo chamber, because it hits two of their biggest buttons: the anti-government button and the anti-science button. That monstrous government bureaucracy wants to get even bigger and more expensive, and it's all about that climate change hoax!

Primitive propaganda, sure, but undeniably effective with the target audience. And of course, The Daily Caller's article is ridiculously out of context and distorted.

"Much of what is said or written about EPA these days is entirely inaccurate — but The Daily Caller's report is comically wrong,” EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan told POLITICO. “At least one job clearly needs to be created: They're clearly in the market for a fact-checker." ...

Here’s the simple version:

The EPA, using two recent Supreme Court decisions, wants to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. But if it were to do so now, the effects on, well, everyone, would be dramatic.

So the agency has proposed the so-called tailoring rule, which would limit permitting requirements to the biggest industrial emitters. However, industry groups are challenging the tailoring rule in court, saying the EPA doesn’t have the Clean Air Act authority it says it has, while some greens say the EPA proposal is too permissive.

That brings us to earlier this month in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where the Justice Department filed an extensive brief outlining some of the potential costs if the tailoring rule were blocked. Among them, DOJ said, the $21 billion and 230,000 employees could be needed to help regulate more than 6 million sources.

“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 the Title V administration costs of $21 billion per year,” DOJ wrote.

DOJ adds that the tailoring rule is designed specifically to avoid that kind of scenario.

The Daily Caller's take is so disconnected from reality that it's not even wrong; it's deliberately deceptive. The truth is exactly the opposite of the way they portrayed it. And as usual with right wing media, they're refusing to back down even after being conclusively debunked.

Daily Caller Executive Editor David Martosko said the publication stands by its story.

"The EPA is well-known for expanding its reach, especially regarding greenhouse gas emissions. What's 'comically wrong' is the idea that half of Washington won't admit it. The EPA's own court filing speaks volumes," Martosko said in an email.

"What's more likely: that the Obama administration's EPA wants to limit its own power, or that it's interested in dramatically increasing its reach and budget?"

In Wingnut Bizarro World, journalistic accountability works in reverse. The more deceptive and misleading your articles, the more successful you are.

Also see:
The Daily Caller reveals the larger truths