The EPA’s Dereliction of Duty


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consistently fails to fulfill its mandatory responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, instead giving priority to regulatory programs of its own choosing—in particular, climate change mitigation. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) William Yeatman explains in, “The EPA’s Dereliction of Duty,” a paper out today, the EPA, not Congress, is to blame for the agency failing to achieve its Clean Air Act deadlines.

“The EPA isn’t meeting its own deadlines for the Clean Air Act, which leads to a number of unfortunate consequences including a wrongful power grab by the agency,” said Yeatman, a senior fellow at CEI. “Congress should demand to know why the EPA rejects the priorities Congress outlines in favor of discretionary policies of its own choosing.”

“The EPA’s Dereliction of Duty” assesses the EPA’s performance of its core Clean Air Act responsibilities, reviewing more than 1,000 deadlines across every major regulatory program for stationary sources. The results indicate that the EPA’s deadline performance is poor. To date, 84 percent of the agency’s Clean Air Act deadlines are late or outstanding by an average of 4.3 years.

The agency’s failure to meet these Clean Air Act deadlines carries major unfortunate consequences:

  • Serious doubts about whether the EPA is faithfully executing the law.
  • Sue-and-settle lawsuits that empower ideological environmental activist groups to set agency policy.
  • Forcing states to chase moving compliance targets, creating unnecessary burdens and poor governance.

The solution is more Congressional oversight of the agency to ensure it is following its Constitutional objectives.

For more on these issues, see Yeatman’s paper here.