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President Richard Nixon once committed an extraordinary egregious act that forever altered the interplay among the three branches of government. Even four decades later, the trust between the American people and its citizens remains bruised. I’m talking, of course, about December 2, 1970 – the day Nixon signed an executive order creating the Environmental Protection Agency.

To skeptics, Nixon acted to appease the Left, then up in arms over the ongoing Vietnam War. To more optimistic observers, he signed that order (and later the extension of the Clean Air Act) out of a strong and sincere belief that a coordinated nationwide approach was the best way to address America’s environmental problems.