The Register-Guard’s editorial writers apparently thinks the country should be run by unelected federal agency staffers:
If ever a federal agency’s decision merited the undivided attention of congressional investigators, it is the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent rejection of California’s attempt to impose limits on greenhouse emissions from vehicles. Emissions limits in Oregon and more than a dozen other states were needlessly stalled by the EPA’s action.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has launched an investigation into why EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson refused to grant California the waiver from the federal Clean Air Act it needed to apply the tougher standards.
Investigators should start with the revelation, first reported by The Washington Post and later confirmed by California Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office, that Johnson made his decision even though his legal and technical staff unanimously recommended approval of California’s request.
Rarely do we see such bald contempt for the U.S. republic and the rule of law. The legal authority rests with the agency director, appointed by a president elected by the voters of the United States. Staff members make a recommendation, but Johnson makes the decision.
Elections have consequences.
P.S. As previously noted, Jonathan Adler at Case Western Reserve has written on the legality of Johnson’s decision. Adler observes: “Agency expertise is important, but it is not the end-all-be-all of agency decision-making, and it is no substitute for politically accountable policy decisions by political appointees.” Is that so hard to understand?
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