Activists on the left don’t seem to mind expanding bureaucracy and red tape when it hits businesses, consumers, property owners, and taxpayers in general. They support heavy paperwork programs that produce little, if any environmental benefit, like those under the Toxics Release Inventory. They regularly launch lawsuits under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act to stop construction, logging, and many other private-sector activities, costing taxpayers and small businesses millions. And they fight all efforts to make environmental laws more effective and affordable. Yet when government is required to do a little paperwork, leftists suddenly complain about bureaucracy and call for streamlining.
In a recent OMB Watch paper of the Data Quality Act, this leftist group complains that industry is using the law to tie regulators’ hands. But the law simply demands that regulators employ the best available, peer reviewed science for research that eventually could be used to justify government programs that erode our freedoms. We should demand at least that much! But I guess OMB Watch doesn’t want accountability; they want to ensure the unchecked expansion of the regulatory state. If you doubt that this state is growing and extensive, take a look at several CEI papers on the topic: Washington’s Ten Thousand Commandments, Environmentalism Legal Legacy, and The Green Regulatory State.