Environmental Protection Agency officials, who sometimes employ a divide-and-conquer strategy to increase the regulatory burden on job-creating businesses, lost a battle in court this week.
The EPA is attempting to enforce expensive new regulations on some farmers in West Virginia and other states. One of them, Eastern Panhandle chicken producer Lois Alt, has balked and taken the agency to court.
Officials of the West Virginia Farm Bureau want to intervene in the case, because of its implications for many other farmers. But the EPA argued the Farm Bureau should not be a party because, according to the agency, the cirumstances allegedly are unique to Alt's case.
That is absolutely ridiculous, as U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey ruled this week. He issued an order that the Farm Bureau can intervene because the case does have implications for other farmers.
Clearly, the EPA wanted to isolate Alt in order to overwhelm one farmer - so it could use the case to enforce rules against others. Bailey was right to reject that, simply to ensure justice is done.
Big-government regulators don't like it when the public is reminded of the ramifications of agencies' edicts. President Barack Obama's war on coal is an excellent example.
EPA officials are well aware that many Americans don't understand coal-fired power plants are responsible for the reasonably priced electricity tens of millions of consumers enjoy. Obama and his minions would prefer that voters not make the link between a devastated coal industry and higher utility bills.
In Alt's case, the EPA wanted to set a precedent for many farmers by battling her alone in court. Bailey did the right thing by killing that strategy.