Who’s in charge?

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Many residents of Pennsylvania are very concerned that utility rates will be going through the roof very soon. This is especially true of seniors who are on fixed incomes and who worry about their utility bills doubling or tripling. We hear horror stories that older folks will be choosing to keep the lights and furnace on, rather than purchase prescription medicines.

The culprit seems to be not the utility companies. According to those entities, the Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that certain standards be met, and to do so, utility companies must upgrade their equipment to produce less pollution. Any cost for such upgrades will become a burden to the consumer.

Everyone wants a cleaner environment, but there are always unintended consequences. For example, our cars now get more mileage, so we buy less fuel to go from point A to point B. That translates to less tax revenue and so the politicians must come up with new ways to increase revenues.

Now, the EPA is placed in charge of mandating certain regulations and will obviously come down hard on companies that are not in compliance. The companies will cry out and say, “We’re not the bad guys, it’s the EPA.”

Our politicians have abdicated the power to make laws in this regard by ceding that responsibility to the EPA. The EPA is a bureaucratic agency with built-in insulation via layers of hierarchies that Solomon couldn’t unravel. No one will ever know who is responsible for the rules made in those cryptic halls. For sure, no politician interested in re-election will admit any knowledge. That was the plan to begin with, to afford the elected lawmakers some plausible denial.

I guarantee anyone who might approach his or her representative and ask why their utility rates went up, that rep will arch his or her eyebrows, plead innocence and say the EPA is in charge. Your next question should be, “How did a nonelected entity come to make laws that are the responsibility of our elected representatives?”

At that point, your rep will turn away and put as much distance between himself and you as possible, as quickly as possible.


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