Imperial EPA, in the Traditional Sense of Imperial

We often refer to the Environmental Protection Agency as the Imperial EPA because it treats the policymaking branch of government, Congress, as a minor bother while issuing dictate after dictate to the rest of the country. The agency is “imperial” in the sense of a central authority being arrogant, aggrandizing, and very, very expensive.

Now the EPA even wants to design its imperial outposts! The rubric is “Greening America’s Capitals.”

Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies. This program will assist three to four communities per year, with the first projects beginning in the fall of 2010.EPA will fund a team of designers to visit each city to produce schematic designs and exciting illustrations intended to catalyze or complement a larger planning process for the pilot neighborhood. Additionally, these pilots could be the testing ground for citywide actions, such as changes to local codes and ordinances to better support sustainable growth and green building. The design team and EPA, HUD, and DOT staff will also assist the city staff in developing specific implementation strategies.

Is this something the federal government really needs to be doing? Theoretically, this program might serve the public good by distracting EPA personnel from other, more destructive regulating, but really …are there no limits to the EPA’s reach? And spending? And imperial accrual of power?

Deadline for applications was July 9, with the awards to be announced in September.

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