Article excerpt

Few people truly understand how the Federal Environmental Protection Agency over the past 30 years has contributed to the difficulty of attempting to run any type of business, large or small.

For good or ill, the recent EPA deadline for upgrading all underground storage tanks and the effect it will have on thousands of service stations around the country is another reminder of the extent that agency impacts our lives. From dry cleaners, to print shops, to service stations, to refineries, and virtually every other kind of business, or manufacturing activities, voluminous rules, regulations and standards present a forbidding quagmire through which such enterprises must travel.

Just keeping up with all the rules is difficult enough, much less trying to comply with them. The costs, while inevitably paid by the consumers, are staggering. Since they usually are hidden in the overall product or service cost, consumers are unaware of their real impact. Aside from the federal rules and regulations, many based at best on contorted logic, each state has one or more agencies involved in environmental regulation, such as the Department of Environmental Quality in Oklahoma. These state agencies are vital because they play a key role in the enforcement of federal laws and regulations. They also develop their own, additional requirements that place more burdens on businesses. As a result, while citizens have been relegated to trash sorters, businesses, industry, and even other governmental agencies have found it ever more difficult to get anything done. Thousands of jobs are endangered to protect the Spotted Owl. Major construction projects give way to the Darter Snail, or are delayed at costs of millions of dollars by some rare beetle, or never-before-heard-of worm. Perhaps the following article best reflects the frustration of anyone trying to do anything constructive in the United States today. The author is unknown to me, but I believe it was published in the Happner (Ore) Gazette-Times circa 1970. The article, title and all, follows. And God said, "To Hell with it" In the beginning, God created the heaven, and the earth. He was then faced with a class action lawsuit for failing to file an impact statement with the HEPA (Heavenly Environmental Protection Agency), an angelically-staffed agency dedicated to keeping the universe pollution free. God was granted a temporary permit for the heavenly portion of the project, but was issued a "cease and desist" order on the earthly part, pending further investigation by the HEPA. Upon completion of the construction permit application and environmental impact statement, God appeared before the HEPA Council to answer questions. When asked why he began these projections in the first place, He replied simply that He liked to be creative. This was not considered adequate reasoning and He was told He would be required to substantiate it further. HEPA was unable to see any practical use for earth since "The earth was void and empty was upon the face of the deep." And God said "Let there be light. …