Why do you hate freedom AND mercury?

When the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a rule last week to limit mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, officials emphasized that the controls could not be more aggressive because the cost to industry already far exceeded the public health payoff.

What they did not reveal is that a Harvard University study paid for by the EPA, co-authored by an EPA scientist and peer-reviewed by two other EPA scientists had reached the opposite conclusion.

--Washington Post, last Tuesday
OK, EPA people. I have to ask: how do you do it?

Most people come home from work, and they can maybe find something positive in the work they've done. Like, you might be all, "Accounts Receiveable really depends on my accounting skillz." Or, if your work doesn't really have a positive effect, you can say, "Well, I didn't make anyone's life worse today. And I made some money."

But you EPA guys... y'all take the cake. It's basically your job to protect the environment, if I have my acronyms right. And you precious people... you choose to willfully ignore that duty. In fact, in some kind of Bizarro twist, you choose to do exactly the opposite. Incredible.

I keep hoping that it's all just some kind of cruel practical joke that only you guys find funny. Like you're making some kind of metaphysical commentary on your job. You might turn to a colleague and say, "Really, what is 'the environment' exactly?" while making finger-quotes, and then you both start cracking up. Because, failing that, how do you live with the fact that the work you go will indirectly wind up killing some folks?

I'm trying to imagine what it's like when they get home from work. "What'd you do today, Dad?" "Well, Billy, today Daddy made the world safer for mercury and sent a bunch of people to their DOOOOOOMMMS. Umm... we're not having fish tonight, are we?"

Or, if they go out for dinner after work, do they avoid drinking tap water because their own lax standards might result in it being, you know, a bit lead-y? No, I know they're not worried at all, because they're drinking bottled spring water and they're more worried about where the valet parked the Hummer.

But still, it would be nice if the Environmental Protection Agency maybe actually fucking cared a little bit about protecting the environment. Seriously, I wish I knew who was responsible for these decisions, because it creeps me out that they're my neighbors. The next time I'm on a Metro train, if there's somebody from the EPA's Department of Ignoring Studies We've Commissioned riding in my car, I'd like to know who it is, so that I can kidnap him/her, and subsequently force him/her to roll around on the floor of the Cardozo High School science lab. "Soak up that mercury! It's good for you! If God didn't want you to touch it, he wouldn't have made it so shiny!"

(Oh man... if the government ever creates a Department of Ironic Punishment, I want that job.)

So anyway, EPA people... you suck. A lot. I get the sense that maybe you've lost sight of your assigned task. To put it in perspective: the guy who headed the EPA during the Nixon administration criticized you for instituting "polluter protection" policies.

Wow. That's gotta hurt.

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