Conservative and free-market activist groups are kicking the Environmental Protection Agency around for sponsoring a video contest to encourage people to get involved with the regulatory process. A federal agency paying people to promote more government? It’s outrageous!
The EPA’s regulatory agenda surely deserves a good kicking, as the agency inexorably expands its power at the expense of individuals, economic activity and liberty. The National Association of Manufacturers is litigating against the EPA over its endangerment finding of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, the agency’s attempt to supersede Congress in the making of environmental policy.
But the protests over the video contest are misplaced. The EPA isn’t asking for videos to justify its existence or sell the miracle of regulation. The “Rulemaking Matters!” contest wants the submissions to explain to the public why rulemaking is important:
Almost every aspect of our lives is touched by federal regulations. Even before you leave the house in the morning, government regulations help set the price of the coffee you drink, the voltage of electricity your alarm clock uses, and the types of programming allowed on the morning news. But many Americans don’t understand how rules are made or how they can get involved in the process.
This video contest is your opportunity to explain federal rulemaking and motivate others to participate in the rulemaking process.
We understand that the tone might rub people the wrong way, especially the idea that the federal government is regulating what’s on the morning news. Nevertheless, more people SHOULD get involved in the federal rulemaking process. If you oppose the expansion of the regulatory state, then oppose it when the regulations are being made.
The EPA also has the job of running this contest not because of its aggressive regulatory agenda, but because of its administrative duties within the Executive Branch:
EPA and E-Rulemaking
EPA has the distinction of being the lead agency in the design, development and implementation of eRulemaking throughout the federal government. The scope of work associated with the eRulemaking Initiative focuses on enhancing public and agency staff access to federal rulemaking materials in order to further the goals of electronic government.
A major step in this initiative was the launch of the Web site www.regulations.gov was launched in January 2003. This site allows the public to search, view, and comment on any proposed rulemaking. Regulations.gov provides one-stop, online access to rules published by more than 160 different federal agencies.
Regulations.gov is an invaluable site, essential for keeping track of how the Executive Branch is implementing the Legislative Branch’s policies. If the video contest encourages more people to use www.regulations.gov, then that’s a good thing.
To those of our friends roughing up the EPA, better to go after the regulatory excesses than this unobjectionable contest. Our suggestion: Make the video, make the case.
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