The Environmental Protection Agency isn’t just coming to your local power plant, they’re coming to you live on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Well, not exactly the EPA. Rural Voices Radio will be using a $25,954 grant given by the agency to the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute to produce programming related to the Gulf of Mexico.

What is Rural Voices Radio you ask?

A short format program undertaken by the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute at Mississippi State University, Rural Voices Radio works with both children and adults so that they can experience what it’s like to work in radio with participants generally sharing essays or poems about their life in Mississippi. In a statement the EPA said that the grant will provide “hands-on opportunities to help change behaviors of Gulf residents as ‘keepers of the Coast’ with vested interest in its protection.”

After the agency spent 12 years trying to understand what to do about the billions of gallons of raw sewage spilling into the Pearl River, the public need only to rejoice as taxpayer money is funding programs like Rural Voices Radio.

The grant serves as an excellent example of how the agency has conducted its business in recent years.

The pretext to the existence of the EPA has largely centered on the notion that the EPA serves as the sole defender of our nation’s environmental wellbeing. Therefore, all actions undertaken by the agency, regulatory or otherwise, serve to benefit the public good. While the agency may sometimes place restrictions on heavy polluters, the average American most likely won’t have much contact with the EPA, except when they’re drinking their clean water and breathing in high-quality air.

Repeated by both proponents of the agencies goals and bureaucrats inhabiting it, the “sole defender” notion has not proved itself indicative of reality. Companies of all sizes have demonstrated not only the ability to self-regulate but a desire to protect our environment. In short, market forces and the profit motive appear to be great motivators. Meanwhile, the EPA has deviated from its original mandate becoming increasingly fond of regulating the behavior of individuals rather than organizations. Simultaneously, the agency has demonstrated ineffectiveness  when it is made to address a true crisis.

While the grant provided to the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute demonstrates wasteful spending by the government, it also represents an investment in which the only desired outcome is the alteration of individual behavior.

These actions, the earliest iterations of which are generally undertaken with noble intentions, seek to gratify the neo-puritanical desires of those who regulate, seeking to expand upon what they are permitted to regulate. Such activity creates a self-gratifying cycle, which further expands the scope of their bureaucracy.

It is fundamentally wrong to have taxpayer dollars be used to influence the content of any broadcast, let alone one which seeks to change the behavior of those who it is meant to reach. For too long the EPA has operated disconnected from the interests of those for which it was established to serve, wasting taxpayer money on projects unrelated to its mandate while failing to fulfill its most basic obligations.

It would be in the interest of all taxpayers to see grants such as the one provided to the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute end immediately and a system introduced in which the mandate of the EPA is transferred to state agencies to enforce and interpret as they see fit.