Front Porch Blog

Rep. Morgan Griffith Proudly Accomplishes Nothing

"I don't want to mislead anyone, I don't think it will pass in the Senate and maybe not the House," Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith said of his bill, the latest futile attack on the EPA, which would to force the agency to layoff 15 percent of its employees.

“I don’t want to mislead anyone, I don’t think it will pass in the Senate and maybe not the House,” Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith said of his bill, the latest futile attack on the EPA, which would to force the agency to layoff 15 percent of its employees.

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced a new bill this week titled the “EPA Maximum Achievable Contraction of Technocrats Act,” or “EPA MACT Act.”

The bill would require the EPA to layoff 15 percent of its employees. The title of the bill is a play on words, referring to EPA’s Utility MACT rule, which would drastically reduce air pollution in the United States. Because if there’s one thing that makes a good piece of federal legislation, it’s a title that pokes fun at pollution controls.

The bill would reduce employment at EPA over a three-year period, though no rate of contraction would be mandated over that time period. It also includes a long “Findings” section full of disjointed talking points that are seemingly meant to explain the need for staff cuts. Griffith uses the fact that 95 percent of the EPA’s employees were deemed ‘non-essential’” during the government shutdown to justify the reductions and makes the trivial point that “the EPA occupies space in fourteen different buildings in the District of Columbia.”

We’re not sure how any of these premises should lead us to conclude that decreasing staff of the agency tasked with protecting human health and the environment by 15 percent is good for the country. That argument has not been made.

At first glance, it may appear to have something to do with spending cuts, but the legislation would not cut EPA’s budget one cent, it would only require them to fire people. And while many accuse EPA “technocrats” of sitting behind a desk and forgetting how their actions affect real people, it is just as easy to sit behind a desk in Congress and forget that these “technocrats” are real people. They are highly qualified, hardworking public servants. Firing them would do nothing more than make the EPA’s work less informed and less efficient. Across the country, the EPA has approximately 17,000 employees, this bill seeks to put about 2,550 of them out of work.

Griffith tried to justify the bill with the spin and guile of an impish 12 year old. “Many in my area and in coal communities across the nation may wish for the complete elimination of the EPA,” Griffith said, “but the EPA MACT Act is a more balanced approach.”

This is the congressional equivalent of a kid saying “yes, I broke your window, but Timmy down the street wanted to burn down the house.” Well, Timmy’s got serious anger problems and we shouldn’t be listening to him, now, should we?

Members of Congress should be held to a higher standard than this. If Griffith’s pointless bill lives up to our expectations of what a Congressman should be doing with his time, it is only because those expectations have dropped to historic lows.

Americans are fed up with Congress because Congress is not getting things done. The stereotype of a congressional representative is not that they are lazy. Everyone expects them to put hours of hard work into giving speeches and raising money for ever-impending elections. Introducing bills designed for no other purposes than to offend the people who work for EPA and score cheap political points with the coal industry is not impressing anyone.

About Thom Kay

AV's Legislative Director, Thom spends his days between Durham, NC and Washington D.C., knee deep in politics and legislation, working to persuade decision-makers to protect Appalachian communities from mountaintop removal and to invest in a new economy for the region. He is the least outdoorsy person at Appalachian Voices, and he's just fine with that.


  1. Rick Phelps says:

    Idiotic !!!

  2. Rick Phelps says:

    Idiotic attempt for self promotion; needs to go !!!

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