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Richard Terrell’s cartoon (more a picture of reality) on March 25, 2012 about the maze of regulations thrown up by the Departments of Interior (DOI) and Energy (DOE), as well as by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), really describes the country in which we currently live.

Congress passes the laws that govern the U.S., but Congress has also authorized the EPA and other federal agencies to help put the laws into effect by creating and enforcing regulations.  The list of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is quite long, encompassing every subject from infants to the aged, from drug abuse to health care.  In this list are DOI, DOE, and EPA regulations.

Since we do not have space here (nor the inclination) to list all federal regulations, let’s focus on one federal agency featured in Terrell’s cartoon: the EPA.  The EPA has literally thousands of regulations, so in the interest of brevity, let’s focus upon one example: the regulation, to which Terrell alludes, on oil drilling.

In April 2011, the EPA Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) denied Shell Oil Company’s plan to drill an exploratory test well in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.  This is  the second time drilling has been delayed due to EPA environmental concerns.  The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project.  But the EAB did not elaborate on how that affected its decision.

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