Yesterday I indentified a few federal agencies I think should be eliminated. Note that one is them is not EPA, because I believe it performs an important function —-keeping the environment clean.

But unfortunately —–like just about every other government agency—- I believe EPA overreaches and inflates its importance. An op-ed defending EPA in today’s N&R cites a perfect example:

The EPA is a lifesaver and a job creator.

In 2010, the Clean Air Act amendments prevented an estimated 164,300 premature adult deaths, 230 infant deaths, 86,000 emergency room visits and 13 million lost work days, according to an April EPA report.

The University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute found that almost 1.5 million jobs would be created in the eastern U.S. over the next five years in order to comply with two new EPA air-quality rules and that these would more than offset any job losses in the coal industry.

The question is how does the EPA come up with those ‘lifesaving’ numbers? I wonder why it’s 230 infant deaths. Why not just round it up to like 250, or say 300, since there is no way they can know how many premature deaths an act of Congress (for heaven’s sake) prevented.

As for the number of jobs the EPA will create —- NYT’s David Brooks —appearing on the other side of the N&R ed page —– says green is where the jobs aren’t. The Department of Energy —- one of the agencies I would do away with —– insists on subsidizing green companies, only to have them fail or move operations to China, or both.

Many of the most celebrated green tech companies are foundering despite lavish public support. Evergreen Solar, the recipient of tens of millions of dollars in state support, moved its manufacturing facility to China before filing for bankruptcy protection.

The U.S. Department of Energy poured $535 million in loans into Solyndra, a solar panel maker backed by George Kaiser, a major Democratic donor.

The Government Accountability Office discovered that Solyndra had been permitted to bypass required steps in the government loan guarantee process. The Energy Department’s inspector general criticized the department for not maintaining e-mails that discussed how the loan guarantee winners were chosen.

Late last month, Solyndra announced that it was ceasing operations, laying off its 1,100 employees. The Department of Energy placed the wrong bet, potentially losing the taxpayers half-a-billion dollars.