Change for EPA so clean water flows in Texas
Posted in the Austin Forum
#1 Jan 10, 2013
There is a reason Congress has adopted the commission model. While a bipartisan consensus exists for regulating some parts of the economy by independent agencies that harness specialized expertise, there remains an underlying partisan disagreement about the means and ends of policy. The commission model recognizes and accommodates these disagreements, with a process that emphasizes public debate and is more transparent and accountable.
The EPAs single-administrator model, on the other hand, is based on what amounts to a conceit that some policy matters are beyond politics or meaningful controversy. This is the apotheosis of the Progressive Era ideal, or rather myth, of enlightened administration by neutral experts. It is also a tactic to deny that what are deeply political administrative decisions are in fact political. The single-administrator model makes it much easier for an ideologue like Ms. Jackson to use the regulatory process as a steamroller to achieve policy goals.
A bipartisan commission would change this dynamic. The president would, as is customary, still appoint a majority of the commissioners, including the chairman. But the minority would have their dissent on policy matters on the record.
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