In this free-for-all we call American Democracy in the year 2017, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a bill on Feb. 3, 2017 titled H.R. 861 – To Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
Though the abolition of the EPA sounds like an evil scheme to get rid of any federal oversight in order to rape and pillage the American landscape in an attempt to extract its great riches, rest assured, it is. But, it has been cleverly disguised a states’ rights issue.
According to Rep. Gaetz, the EPA has “exceeded their original mission substantially under both Republican and Democratic presidents and violated the sovereignty of the states. I think we need to start fresh.” (Italics mine.)
The sovereignty of the states, eh? I’m sorry, but I’m always suspicious of someone who presents their issue as a states’ rights issue. So were James Madison (see Federalist Papers No. 10 and No. 45), and Abraham Lincoln. (See here for an interesting discussion of states’ rights and racism.)
So what’s going on?
Well, Congressman Gaetz represents Florida’s 1st Congressional District. This includes Pensacola, where there happens to be an oil refinery run by TransMontaigne Product Services LLP (a wholly-owned subsidiary of NGL Energy Partners LC). I’m sure TransMontaigne would be quite obliged to Rep. Gaetz for getting rid of those pesky EPA rules and regulations that protect the environment.
Additionally, Gaetz received a campaign contribution from a super PAC called North Florida Neighbors that received a $100,000 donation from Harness Oil & Gas, Inc, which is owned by the daughter of Lester Smith, who owns Smith Energy Company. Smith Energy Company has oil-drilling leases throughout the state of Texas. I’m sure this company wouldn’t mind branching out into Florida.
Coincidentally, Lester Smith (of the aforementioned Smith Energy Company) and his wife own property in Florida’s 1st Congressional District (which Gaetz represents).
One way or another, I think it’s safe to say that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is beholden the oil and gas industry. And this is why he’s attempting to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.
N.B.: Gaetz is not alone in sponsoring the bill to terminate the EPA. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Steven Palazzo (R-MS) are also sponsoring the bill.