Recent surveys asking Americans to rate Congress and the U.S. government in general have revealed that few of us have any faith whatsoever in our ruling class, and yet there is little concerted effort among the masses to change our political dynamic.
Election after election, Americans continue to re-elect the very same representatives and senators we claim to despise and distrust. In the 2014 elections, despite Congress having an 11 percent approval rating, an astounding 96 percent of incumbents were re-elected.
So it’s no wonder American government is as unresponsive and inefficient as it is: While many complain about it, few actually work to get things changed (if the incumbent re-election rate is any indication) and that means that lawmakers will be unresponsive too.
That helps explain why most federal agencies are simply bloated, inept and ineffective money pits, like the Environmental Protection Agency.
As President Obama attempts to use the EPA to damage the power industry and decrease employment, the agency is failing at one of its core missions: environmental protection.
As reported by The Washington Free Beacon:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not effectively track hazardous waste coming into the United States, posing “unknown human and environmental exposure to toxic substances.”
According to an audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG)…the United States receives roughly 90,000 tons of hazardous waste a year from foreign countries, primary from Canada and Mexico. The EPA is responsible for managing hazardous waste from “cradle to grave” via the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The audit[PDF] found the agency’s data collection on imports has “major discrepancies in hazardous waste import volumes, indicating that the EPA has incomplete knowledge of hazardous waste import shipments.”
Hazardous waste imports include liquids, solids, gases, sludges,”solvents, acids, heavy metals, such as cadmium and mercury, and used
batteries containing lead.”
“Based on our assessment of data in EPA information systems, the EPA has an incomplete picture of hazardous waste entering the country,” the OIG report noted. “This can give rise to undetected and unenforced violations of federal hazardous waste laws, which could result in unknown human and environmental exposure to toxic substances.”
It added: “The EPA may be unaware of shipments that do not reach their intended destination facilities, as well as significant discrepancies in the volume or nature of hazardous waste shipped.”
In addition, the audit revealed that the agency was also not meeting federal mandates that required it to track the waste that it allows into the country. In particular, the agency is missing consent forms that are mandated under the RCRA to grant government approval to accept hazardous waste from foreign nations for more than half of toxic waste destinations.
Any hazardous waste shipment to the U.S. is required to have a manifest that identifies where the shipment came from, its type, amount, dates of shipment and when it is supposed to reach its final destination. Such waste can be transported to treatment, storage facilities and disposal sites in the U.S., the WFB reported.
So, in essence, while the Obama administration allows other countries to use the United States as a dumping ground, it is busy punishing our own industries with onerous, stifling and expensive regulations that purport to address a phony problem (anthropogenic global warming).
The OIG audit also noted that “the EPA letter consenting to imports did not consistently include sufficient information to verify that the types of hazardous waste shipped were those which received consent.”
And many hazardous waste manifests did not match data from the Biennial Report (BR), an EPA data system that supposedly documents “the nature, quantities and disposition” of hazardous waste every other year.
“The EPA does not have an accurate accounting of hazardous waste coming into the
United States,” the OIG said. “Comparison of import quantities for 2009 showed the OFA [Office of Federal Activities] received manifests for less than half the waste identified in the BR.”
But by all means, let’s keep electing the same people to office who refuse to demand more efficiency from the federal bureaucracy, even if agencies are endangering American lives.
Read the full story here.