Policy Documents

The Leaflet: It's Time to Replace the EPA

July 31, 2014

It's Time to Replace the EPA 

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a rogue agency that has long outlived its effectiveness and should be dismantled and replaced, according to Jay Lehr, Ph.D., science director for The Heartland Institute.

In a new Heartland Policy Study, “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency,” Lehr writes,
It made sense for there to be a single national agency given authority to enforce the nation’s new environmental protection laws in the first decade of the 1970s. But by the end of that decade, the lion’s share of benefits from that noble experiment were already achieved and the states could have been, and should have been, allowed to play their intended role in implementing the new programs.
 The study explains why EPA should be replaced and describes the steps needed to replace the agency with a better system.
Instead of attempting to reform EPA, Lehr calls for a “Committee of the Whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies to replace EPA over a five-year period. Lehr writes, “The Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies would meet the needs of the nation more effectively and more efficiently than the national EPA. Fifty state environmental protection agencies with more than 30 years of experience have the talent to do the job without the oversight of 15,000 federal employees.” He notes, “It is, after all, well-known that government close to the location of the governed is best for all.”
Lehr concludes, “Authority [for environmental protection] should have remained in the hands of the states, where innovation would be rewarded and accountability to local voters and taxpayers was more likely to be preserved.”

Energy & Environment

Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency

A new Heartland Policy Study by Science Director Dr. Jay Lehr outlines his plan to replace the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Once an important and necessary agency,Lehr says EPA has devolved into an obsolete and economically destructive agency that could be replaced by a “Committee of the Whole” consisting of the 50 state environmental protection agencies that did not exist when the original EPA was created. Read More


Research & Commentary: Medical Licensing and the Doctor Shortage

Strict licensing standards have become a significant barrier to entry in many fields, but nowhere is the influence of licensing more sharply felt than in the health care industry, and this could exacerbate the growing need for more physicians under the Affordable Care Act. In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans concludes, “Although a complete repeal of medical licensing may not be practical, allowing physicians to treat patients across state lines and expanding the scope of practice of nurse practitioners are two incremental steps states can take to address the doctor shortage.” Read More 


The Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit the state board of education filed against the state legislature in an attempt to avoid following a new law repealing and replacing national Common Core education mandates. Oklahoma joins a growing number of states that are repealing their Common Core standards. Indiana, Missouri, and South Carolina also have backtracked from Common Core after several years of parents wrangling with lawmakers. Read More

Budget & Tax


This Research & Commentary explores the issues surrounding tax increment financing (TIF), an increasingly popular tool for funding economic development projects in municipalities across the country. Originally designed to help blighted areas attract businesses, tax increment financing has become the subsidy of choice for towns seeking to spur development. Instead of shifting tax revenues away from public services, Missouri lawmakers should focus on attracting development through sound, competitive tax policy.  Read More



In an article in the Heartlander digital magazine, Bruce Parker discusses how “a city-owned telecommunications provider in Burlington, Vermont” that “sounded like a good idea a decade ago” is now indebted more than $30 million to Citibank.  Read More

From Our Free-Market Friends


An economic policy research report recently released by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) discusses the state of tax cronyism in America. The report notes, “By compiling data on tax cronyism from every state, citing numerous examples of tax cronyism and referencing the most relevant economic literature, the authors present a compelling case for policymakers to favor a tax code that keeps tax burdens low and treats firms and industries equally.” Read More


 The July issue of Budget & Tax News reports all three major credit rating agencies – Fitch, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s Investors Service – have issued stern warnings to Pennsylvania policymakers, saying credit rating reductions are likely unless pension debts are addressed and spending is brought in line with revenue.

School Reform News

Environment & Climate News