WASHINGTON, April 15, 2015 — The EPA has established itself as one of the most aggressive and over- bearing government agencies during the Obama administration.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been involved in all sorts of controversies, from fraudulently wasting taxpayer money and recklessly regulating the coal industry, all the way to leaking confidential information about farmers to environmental groups.
The government agency’s latest exploits may not be illegal, but are certainly curious.
It has recently been reported that the EPA has set its sights on monitoring how much water hotel guests use and encouraging hotels to set maximum shower times. The University of Tulsa recently received a $15,000 grant to develop a device that could monitor water consumption in hotel showers.
The EPA grant states that, because hotels consume large amounts of water across the world,
“This device will be designed to fit most new and existing hotel shower fixtures and will wirelessly transmit hotel guest water usage data to a central hotel accounting system.”
The eventual goal is to monitor and perhaps eventually limit the shower times of paying hotel customers. Tyler W. Johannes, Ph.D., one of the Tulsa professors working on the project, has stated that the group hopes to inspire hotels to limit showers to seven minutes. This figure is derived from the Alliance For Water Efficiency, a non-profit organization dedicated to water conservation, which believes that forcing guests to shower for less than five minutes and take “navy showers” can cut 17.2 gallons of water per guest per shower.
The EPA, in response to an article by the Washington Free Beacon which questioned the legitimacy of the grant, attempted to make it clear that this device will not allow the government to monitor shower times. While the idea of big brother monitoring shower habits may indeed be a proposition far too Orwellian even for this administration, the EPA did not comment on why hotels need to know how much time each guest spends in the shower.
Unfortunately for the EPA, this news comes at a time where trust in government is at an all-time low. With the recent scandals involving the NSA, IRS, VA, and Justice Department, it may be hard for some to believe this initial grant doesn’t have higher aspirations in mind or at the very least, is telling the complete truth.
Hotels, like all households, have the ability to monitor how much water they use as a whole. The objective now is to determine how much water is used per visitor. The EPA has stated that these wireless devices placed on each shower head will simply relay the water usage information to the hotel. It is still unclear what the agency expects the hotel to do with this information.
Water rationing seems to be the only logical conclusion as to why this program came to be in the first place.
Kentucky Sen. and 2016 presidential hopeful, Republican Rand Paul, is one of the detractors opposed to the study. His issue with the grant revolves around the next step in the process. In an email to supporters, he explained, “EPA is announcing it wants to use our tax dollars to track how long hotel guests spend in the shower so they can start working to ‘modify their behavior.'”
The state of California is currently facing mandatory water restrictions to combat a severe drought, and with green energy practices becoming more and more prevalent, the question will become how government imposed restrictions mesh with government-funded monitoring methods.
The goal of “modifying” behaviors is difficult to accomplish without any pressure being applied, and in this era of big government, it seems unlikely that pressure will not be used here in the form of inconveniencing and possibly even infringing upon the rights of citizens.