Why is it one question keeps recurring whenever EPA announces a decision: What is wrong with these people? The latest such example concerns the agency's rejection of a Texas air quality program that slashed emissions in the Lone Star state while encouraging increased workplace productivity.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had requested EPA permission to proceed with a flexible permits program covering 122 petroleum processing facilities that had been covered under a trial effort. Air quality in Texas has dramatically improved under TCEQ leadership and EPA approval of its application would have extended the successful program permanently.

Better air? Improved productivity? Isn't that what everybody wants? Not if it isn't done exactly the way the Little Napoleons at EPA decree. Rep. Pete Olson, R-TX, is none too happy about it, either.

“I’m deeply disappointed with the EPA’s decision to reject the flexible air permits of 122 facilities in Texas, leaving them without legal operating permits. The federal government must regulate sensibly and consider the practical implications of its actions. The inflexibility of EPA’s regulatory mandate will cost Texas thousands of jobs," Olson said.

“TCEQ has been willing to work with EPA to adopt different standards and have been rebuffed. There has been a 22% reduction in ozone and 46% decrease in NOX emissions in Texas since 2000 all while increasing output. From 2000-2009, Texas’ annual refinery operable crude oil distillation capacity increased by 11.9%. There should be a solution that protects the flexible program - which has improved air quality in Texas - without the heavy hand of the federal government.”

So, now TCEQ has to go back to the drawing board. Here's a prediction - When EPA finally approves a new set of rules for these Texas facilities, the end result will be less improvement in air quality, but the process will have provided the Washington bureaucrats with continued justification for their existence and enhanced their power over the rest of us.

And that, friends and neighbors, is the real purpose of federal regulation.