Saturday, August 11, 2012

In praise of... the Environmental Protection Agency

Hurray for the EPA
The US Environmental Protection Agency is one of the most successful government programmes in the history of the US government. It has saved millions of lives and avoided tens of trillions of dollars of unnecessary health spending (for a tiny fraction of that price), as well as helping preserve and restore scores of endangered species and habitats. It was set up under arch-environmentalist Richard Nixon forty-two years ago (with a 99-1 vote in the Senate), but has come under greater attack in the last couple of years (basically, since Citizens United) than at any prior point in its history.

The Democrats are only marginally better, in many ways differing from the Republicans more in tone than substance, so I'm not trying to push any partisan agenda here (NB there are more than two parties in any case), simply noting that this organisation provides a generally excellent model of how governments can seek to wield their authority for the common good, preventing or at least reducing the abuse of the weak by the powerful (which is basically the structure of most pollution in and by rich nations: powerful corporations offloading the true costs of their polluting activities onto poorer communities). Long may it endure.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Byron. Hooray for the EPA, indeed.

First impression: wow, America has a big problem with its representative government not representing properly.

Second thought: take the log out of your own eye, Alan, and then you'll see clearly to take the speck out of your tranas-Pacific cousin's eye. I'm not even sure where the problems begin in Australia.

Question: Why is it OK for polluters to say, "You can have a strong economy OR a healthy environment, so choose", but it's political suicide for the clean-up advocates to do the same?

Alan Wood

Anonymous said...

Yes the "free" market hacks in the GOP just want to finish off the process described in this essay which was written as a response to the policies etc of the Bush mis-administration.