Delays may curb the EPA

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register 

WHEELING, W.Va. — Sometimes it may seem as if battling the juggernaut that is the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign against affordable electricity and the coal industry is merely delaying the inevitable. Small victories in Congress and the courts seem frequently to be followed by declarations from President Barack Obama’s administration that the campaign will proceed anyway.

But as Jan. 20, 2017 draws closer, those small victories become more important, perhaps taking on a decisive quality.

One of them occurred last week when a federal appeals court issued a nationwide stay order regarding the EPA’s so-called Waters of the United States rule, often referred to simply as WUSA.

With West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office in a leadership role, 31 states had challenged the rule. On Friday, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Michigan ordered the EPA to suspend enforcement of WUSA. Judges said the order will remain in effect until the court can consider whether it has jurisdiction to consider lawsuits attempting to block the new rules entirely.

Concern over WUSA is widespread, because it will extend EPA jurisdiction to many more streams and wetlands – some not even containing water all the time. That worries farmers, miners, housing developers and a multitude of other people who could be affected adversely.

In announcing the court’s action, Morrisey termed it “a critical victory in our fight against this onerous federal overreach.”

How is a mere delay a victory?

Because a new president will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017, and that person may well be one who pays more attention to the well-being of Americans than to radical environmentalists and other special interests.

If that happens, it will eliminate a shield behind which the EPA has hidden – the threat by Obama to veto any bills Congress passes in an attempt to rein in the agency. A new president may well let majorities in the Senate and House of Representative stop the EPA’s campaign. He also may rescind the executive orders by which Obama has bypassed Congress entirely.

So at this point, delays such as that won last week matter very much.

Morrisey is to be commended for his multi-front battle against the EPA and his leadership in it. He and others involved also are to be encouraged to keep up the good work.

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