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The Blame Game–EPA or Congress?

by Laura Huggins

A recent editorial in the New York Times points out that Republicans in the next Congress are set on limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate a wide range of air pollutants and urges the White House to support the EPA.

But as Henry Miller writes in a response, the EPA’s policies and procedures “have often been textbook examples of how not to regulate.” Miller reports that the risk of fatality to the average worker at Superfund toxic waste sites is actually larger than the “cancer risks to individuals that might result from exposures to unremediated sites.”

True. But perhaps the root of the problem is Congress, not the EPA. As David Schoenbrod suggests in PERC Reports:

By leaving lawmaking to the EPA, legislators shy away from such responsibility. They bestow a right to protection without themselves imposing any burden. The anger falls on the EPA because it is left with the job of allocating the burdens among pollution sources. The EPA takes the blame for denying rights and imposing burdens.

Read Schoenbrod’s full article here.

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