Remember earlier this year when the President directed that all administrative agencies review their rules so as to strike an appropriate balance between the need for the regulation and the economic impact of the regulation? It should come as no surprise that the EPA either didn’t get the memo, or assumed that the President’s directive did not apply to it.
One need look no further than New York City.
Take the mandate governing Hillview, a 90-acre, 900-million gallon reservoir in Yonkers, north of the city. The EPA wants the city to build a $1.6 billion-plus cover to prevent contamination by cryptosporidium, a water born pathogen that causes diarrhea. [emphasis supplied]
Since 2002, the city has spent $15 billion on an assortment of federally mandated water projects. As a result, city water rates have increased 134% in the past 9 years, and, this project will only add more to that increase.
But, what about that cryptosporidium? The EPA has estimated that adding a dome to the reservoir will prevent between 112,000 and 365,000 cases annually. Using the higher number, that works out to a cost of about $4400 for each case prevented. That might be sufficient in the minds of some to justify the regulation, but for one small fact.
The pathogen hasn’t been found in the reservoir despite years of tests and is barely present in the city, with about 100 confirmed cases of of illness each year due to the little critter. [emphasis supplied]
In other words, the EPA just made the figures up without any basis in reality.
New York City might be well advised to look at a decision released yesterday in Business Roundtable v. SEC. There, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit blasted (and I’m being kind using that word) the SEC for basically making stuff up to justify a regulation. The court held (at page 7) that,
…the SEC acted arbitrarily and capriciously for having failed adequately to assess the economic effects of a new rule…and, neglected to support its predictive judgments.
The same legal standard applies to the EPA.
But, as is its custom, the EPA has absolutely no desire to let the facts stand in the way of a darn good opinion.