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Machine Elf
08-16-2011, 08:34 AM
Michelle Bachmann (http://www.care2.com/causes/bachmann-wants-to-lock-up-the-epa-and-turn-out-the-lights.html) and other conservative candidates like this one (http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/07/27/280925/gop-2012-epa/) have been railing against the EPA for some time, proposing that it has outlived its usefulness (or is even wrecking the economy by excessive regulation that costs jobs) and that we should abolish it altogether. Their idea, I guess, is that future environmental regulations would be enacted by Congress (though in the absence of the EPA, it's unclear where they would obtain the information necessary to make such decisions).

What's your take? Do we need the EPA anymore? Are jobs unnecessarily being crushed under the burden of excessive environmental regs? Could Congress be expected to make good decisions with regard to environmental stewardship?

Der Trihs
08-16-2011, 08:49 AM
No, we need the EPA and people like her want to get rid of it simply so corporations will have even more leeway to destroy the landscape and dump poison wherever they like than they do now.

Machine Elf
08-16-2011, 09:07 AM
This poll (http://michiganmessenger.com/46203/poll-shows-little-support-for-abolishing-epa) was taken in February. The headline claims "little support" for curbing the EPA, but frankly I'm shocked there was as much support as there was. Close to 1/3 of those surveyed think the EPA overreaches.

In this poll, (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/25_favor_abolishing_epa_61_oppose) 25% of respondents favor abolishing the EPA.

So it's not just the candidates, there's a surprisingly large (to me, at least) fraction of the public who are on board with the idea.

Mr. Moto
08-16-2011, 09:25 AM
No, we need the EPA and people like her want to get rid of it simply so corporations will have even more leeway to destroy the landscape and dump poison wherever they like than they do now.

Cite?

Morgenstern
08-16-2011, 09:30 AM
Those who don't remember poisoned lakes and rivers or brown air would do well to consider what life was like before the EPA stepped in.

Really Not All That Bright
08-16-2011, 10:08 AM
Michelle Bachmann thinks it's a good idea, which tells you all you need to know. Whether the EPA overreaches and whether it needs to be abolished are totally unrelated questions.

"How do you like your new history teacher, Jimmy?"
"She's nice, but she covered a few things that aren't on the syllabus."
"Like what?"
"Oh, like the effects of the Great Depression on child laborers and stuff."
"She did what? I'm going to call the school board and have her fired right now!"

Czarcasm
08-16-2011, 10:25 AM
Cite?The past.

Dogzilla
08-16-2011, 10:26 AM
Cite?

Here's an example of what happens without an EPA:

There have reportedly been at least thirteen fires on the Cuyahoga River, the first occurring in 1868.[12] The largest river fire in 1952 caused over $1 million in damage to boats and a riverfront office building.[13] Fires erupted on the river several more times before June 22, 1969, when a river fire captured the attention of Time magazine, which described the Cuyahoga as the river that "oozes rather than flows" and in which a person "does not drown but decays."[14]

The 1969 Cuyahoga River fire helped spur an avalanche of water pollution control activities resulting in the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). As a result, large point sources of pollution on the Cuyahoga have received significant attention from the OEPA in recent decades. These events are referred to in Randy Newman's 1972 song "Burn On", R.E.M.'s 1986 song "Cuyahoga", and Adam Again's 1992 song "River on Fire". Great Lakes Brewing Company of Cleveland, Ohio have named their Burning River Pale Ale after the event. During the Gulf Oil Spill of May 2010, New York Times economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman referred to the Cuyahoga fire as the start of “environmentalism”.[15]

Water quality has improved and, partially in recognition of this improvement, the Cuyahoga River was designated as one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in 1998.[16]

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-16-2011, 10:39 AM
Mr. Moto is using an alternate definition of "cite" which reads "Bite my crank for a while providing evidence that everyone knows perfectly well but doesn't suit my own raging ideological prejudices." Maybe this all would have happened if there had never been an EPA, after all. Maybe the Cuyahoga was on the verge of becoming a paradise, and would have, quicker and cheaper, if not for that nasty EPA. Can you prove it wasn't?

Can you prove that while biting my crank?

Bryan Ekers
08-16-2011, 11:16 AM
I'm guessing that if in 2012 Bachmann gets elected and every Tea-Party candidate does as well and there's an overall filibuster-proof Republican majority in both chambers of Congress....


... well, the Americans are totally fucked and it will have been gleefully self-inflicted.

Really Not All That Bright
08-16-2011, 11:18 AM
Don't think you're getting off scott-free, Canuck. Prevailing wind from our regulated-into-the-ground factory towns is northerly.

Bryan Ekers
08-16-2011, 11:35 AM
Then this means WAR!

Whack-a-Mole
08-16-2011, 11:52 AM
Cite?

As noted above, history.

Hell, not even history...happens today.

Look at the pollution woes (with nothing like an EPA) is facing. Pollution is becoming a staggering problems for China.

Since the US embassy in Beijing began tweeting hourly pollution reports last year, I – along with many other smog watchers – have been horrified at the frequency of "bad" and "hazardous" readings.

But this week, the depth and murkiness of the haze was so appalling that the automated system briefly entered the realm of black comedy with a "crazy bad" analysis of our air.

The outlandish description appeared on the @beijingair Twitter account late yesterday when levels of PM2.5 tiny particulate matter surged past 500, about 20 times higher than the guideline issued by the World Health Organisation.

The "crazy bad" terminology – which was at odds with the normally sober and scientific language of the Twitter account – appeared to have been a joke embedded in the embassy's monitoring program and triggered by a reading that was off the normal scale.

SOURCE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/nov/19/crazy-bad-beijing-air-pollution


Google pictures of China's pollution (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&cp=26&gs_id=22&xhr=t&q=pollution+us+embassy+china&qe=cG9sbHV0aW9uIHVzIGVtYmFzc3kgY2hpbmE&qesig=VgYLsu2_NDitLFX83UqzfA&pkc=AFgZ2tkgcFXTzvHj-s67cuX4_pS9gUjFFs37L0Y5qMGCMuujPSSzl8g1hqFIbhYBoJy93t-fT47bxzA1N5TskuvFIPAb91M_Jg&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.&biw=1680&bih=899&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi#um=1&hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=pollution+china&pbx=1&oq=pollution+china&aq=f&aqi=g1g-m2&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=9103l9645l0l10156l2l2l1l0l0l0l485l485l4-1l1l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=c37f4778f458e5b6&biw=1680&bih=899) problem.

Companies are not seeking to be "good citizens" of their own accord. If they can save a buck by dumping toxic waste into the air or water they do it.

But fine, forget China. We are the US! A country with about 1,280 Superfund sites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Superfund_sites_in_the_United_States) (areas which are deemed toxic to humans).

But hey, if you think the EPA is overreaching I invite you to move you and your family to one of those areas. I bet property is cheap.

Peremensoe
08-16-2011, 12:00 PM
Do we need the EPA anymore? Are jobs unnecessarily being crushed under the burden of excessive environmental regs?

Yes. I would be willing to abolish most other government agencies before the EPA. Clean water, clean air, and clean soil are necessities, not luxuries.

No. Implementation could certainly be better in many cases, but regulations needn't be net negatives for jobs. With proper direction of resources, we ought to be creating more jobs finding ways to do the things we want to do without trashing our own backyard.

Bryan Ekers
08-16-2011, 12:01 PM
The "crazy bad" terminology – which was at odds with the normally sober and scientific language of the Twitter account – appeared to have been a joke embedded in the embassy's monitoring program and triggered by a reading that was off the normal scale.

Sounds like one of those times satire can't keep up with reality.


Kinda like Bachmann herself, truth be told.

OneMissedPost
08-16-2011, 12:07 PM
Yes. I would be willing to abolish most other government agencies before the EPA. Clean water, clean air, and clean soil are necessities, not luxuries.

No. Implementation could certainly be better in many cases, but regulations needn't be net negatives for jobs. With proper direction of resources, we ought to be creating more jobs finding ways to do the things we want to do without trashing our own backyard.

Agreed. We need the EPA.

gonzomax
08-16-2011, 12:15 PM
We could sell the power over water quality and air pollution to Exxon. Everybody knows that privatizing the government is so much better. I am sure we could sell Dow the rights to policing the Saginaw River and other Michigan rivers. The Detroit River would be much cleaner is we sold the rights to the steel companies. They turn parts of it into such a pretty reddish brown color.

BrainGlutton
08-16-2011, 12:20 PM
Yes. I would be willing to abolish most other government agencies before the EPA. Clean water, clean air, and clean soil are necessities, not luxuries.

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"

-- Lee Iacocca

Mr. Moto
08-16-2011, 12:27 PM
No, history can't be the cite. China can't be the cite. Der Trihs said that people like her want corporations to have the freedom to destroy the environment.

I'm one of the more conservative people on these boards, and I don't support that. Furthermore, environmental protection isn't merely handled by the EPA - it is a responsibility of many government agencies operating across many jurisdictions.

I haven't looked at the matter overly much, but my time in government service was enough to convince me that even without the EPA, the law would still have to be followed and enforcement mechanisms would still be in place. The Coast Guard, for example, would still have marine environmental protection responsibilities. The Forest Service would still implement environment policy on forest lands.

I don't personally think abolishing the EPA is a necessity or desirable, and I don't think it is politically possible anyway - but politicians that make noises in this area aren't automatically beyond the pale.

Really Not All That Bright
08-16-2011, 12:28 PM
Then this means WAR!
If you were worried about our F-22s, just wait til you see our acid rain.

Clothahump
08-16-2011, 12:28 PM
The EPA, and about 3/4 of the other government agencies, should be abolished because there is no Constitutional basis for its existence.

smiling bandit
08-16-2011, 12:35 PM
There's a rather large stretch between "abolish the EPA" and "abolish all regulation". The two are most definitely not the same. My problem with the EPS is that it's an incredibly blind, stupid bureaucracy, tends to overreach (and already its reach far exceeds its grasp). At this point, I think it may actually be doing more harm than good to the very environment it supposedly protects, simply because it tends to adopt really, really stupid top-down rules.

Really Not All That Bright
08-16-2011, 12:35 PM
The EPA, and about 3/4 of the other government agencies, should be abolished because there is no Constitutional basis for its existence.
Well, other than that pesky Commerce Clause, but hey, what's a clause or two between friends?

The Tooth
08-16-2011, 12:42 PM
Then this means WAR!

I'd fight. No joke.

Peremensoe
08-16-2011, 12:43 PM
My problem with the EPS is that it's an incredibly blind, stupid bureaucracy, tends to overreach (and already its reach far exceeds its grasp). At this point, I think it may actually be doing more harm than good to the very environment it supposedly protects, simply because it tends to adopt really, really stupid top-down rules.

Perhaps you'd like to offer some specific examples we could consider?

Kevbo
08-16-2011, 01:04 PM
I grew up in a suburb (Thornton) North of Denver. Our house was on a hill with a clear view South...a view mostly of a thick brown haze over Denver through the late 1960's and 70's.

Today, the population of the area has about doubled, and traffic is about 3X. (Many households had only one car, and kids walked to school and baseball practice when I was growing up)

And there is no brown cloud. When my Mom could no longer live in the old house in the mid 90's you could clearly see downtown, and on mornings with an inversion, the haze was grey/white fog rather than Brown NOx. Thanks to fuel injection, cars now run properly at 5000', start easily on frosty mornings, climb mountain grades even without a V-8, and get about double or even more the MPG. If it weren't for EPA fuel economy standards, we'd still be cussing at carburetors.

The EPA is the reason I can speak Richard Nixon's name without spitting afterward.

GoodOmens
08-16-2011, 01:07 PM
No, the EPA should not be abolished.

If the question is changed to "should the structure and practices of the EPA be reevaluated to make it more effective and efficient while giving the corporations and other groups under its jurisdiction more freedom to act in accordance with their individual needs as well as the collective needs of the society?"...well, yes.

Czarcasm
08-16-2011, 01:13 PM
No, the EPA should not be abolished.

If the question is changed to "should the structure and practices of the EPA be reevaluated to make it more effective and efficient while giving the corporations and other groups under its jurisdiction more freedom to act in accordance with their individual needs as well as the collective needs of the society?"...well, yes.No-absolutely not. If you allow a business-controlled congress to "fix" the EPA, I can guarantee that it will not be for the benefit of the general public.

Kiber
08-16-2011, 01:24 PM
So does anyone have specific examples of the "overreaching" that EPA has apparently been doing?

OneMissedPost
08-16-2011, 01:54 PM
The EPA, and about 3/4 of the other government agencies, should be abolished because there is no Constitutional basis for its existence.

Cite?

HookerChemical
08-16-2011, 01:59 PM
If the question is changed to "should the structure and practices of the EPA be reevaluated to make it more effective and efficient while giving the corporations and other groups under its jurisdiction more freedom to act in accordance with their individual needs as well as the collective needs of the society?"...well, yes.

As somebody who works fairly regularly with the EPA's air regulations, I can say there is a lot of flexibility in the regulations, especially for smaller sources or modifications. Furthermore, the requirements for more rigorous emission controls scale with the air quality of the region. Even under the worst circumstances, business are able to propose alternative pollution control if it will result in equal or lower emissions. In other words, the EPA establishes the floor for controls. You're free to do better.

Water regulation is similarly flexible, to my limited knowledge. There are limits on the pollutants you discharge, but you can get to those limits by cleaning it using a wide variety of techniques. You're limited in that you can't let all the pollutant leach into the groundwater, but that would defeat the point of the water regulations.

As I said, I work with the EPA or local districts implementing EPA regulation. There are plenty of headaches for my clients, but our hands have never been tied so completely we couldn't find a solution.

Daddypants
08-16-2011, 02:02 PM
Cite?

The Atlanta skyline between June and September. Is the sky supposed to be brown?

Omg a Black Conservative
08-16-2011, 02:03 PM
The idea that companies would simply pollute to their heart's content if the EPA was abolished in a lot of fearmongering. Even if the EPA was abolished, most local municipalities would pass their own laws limiting how much a business could pollute (or they would offer incentives for a company to not pollute).

Whack-a-Mole
08-16-2011, 02:06 PM
I haven't looked at the matter overly much, but my time in government service was enough to convince me that even without the EPA, the law would still have to be followed and enforcement mechanisms would still be in place.

So you are saying the EPA is superfluous? Nothing they do is not already covered by someone else who is equally good (or better) and enforcing regulations than the EPA?

If you can make that case then maybe you've got something.

Whack-a-Mole
08-16-2011, 02:08 PM
The idea that companies would simply pollute to their heart's content if the EPA was abolished in a lot of fearmongering. Even if the EPA was abolished, most local municipalities would pass their own laws limiting how much a business could pollute (or they would offer incentives for a company to not pollute).

Sure. Because historically that is exactly what has happened (see Cuyahoga River example above). :rolleyes:

Machine Elf
08-16-2011, 02:12 PM
The idea that companies would simply pollute to their heart's content if the EPA was abolished in a lot of fearmongering. Even if the EPA was abolished, most local municipalities would pass their own laws limiting how much a business could pollute (or they would offer incentives for a company to not pollute).

This seems like it would devolve into a "lowest bidder" scenario: the municipality willing to enact the most lenient ant-pollution laws is the one that's going to host the most corporations. Moreover, part of the problem is that air and water pollution generated in one area can easily migrate to another. So Los Angeles sets strict pollution limits, and Santa Monica says "build your plant here and crank out as much toxic shit as you like;" LA ends up looking just like it did in the '60's and '70's.

See tragedy of the commons. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons)

Omg a Black Conservative
08-16-2011, 02:13 PM
Sure. Because historically that is exactly what has happened (see Cuyahoga River example above). :rolleyes:

I'm sorry, but I was under the impression this is the year 2011, not 1960-whatever it was. The climate (not temperature) is a lot different now than it was forty plus years ago.

The Tooth
08-16-2011, 02:16 PM
"Obey the rules or we will shut you down" seems a good incentive.

Finagle
08-16-2011, 02:21 PM
The idea that companies would simply pollute to their heart's content if the EPA was abolished in a lot of fearmongering. Even if the EPA was abolished, most local municipalities would pass their own laws limiting how much a business could pollute (or they would offer incentives for a company to not pollute).

Right. Because we all live in a corruption-free utopia where no company would elect its own stooges to the local government, remove all regulations and pollute away. In a company town where all the jobs are due to that company, they can get away with quite a lot. And, even if the people in that town were OK with trading health for jobs, how about the folks downstream and downwind?

Czarcasm
08-16-2011, 02:24 PM
I'm sorry, but I was under the impression this is the year 2011, not 1960-whatever it was. The climate (not temperature) is a lot different now than it was forty plus years ago.It sure as hell is-profits are hard to come by, so without the EPA corporations would be more likely to pull the old "Back off on the regulations or we'll move somewhere else and shut your piss-ass town down!" routine.

Whack-a-Mole
08-16-2011, 02:27 PM
I'm sorry, but I was under the impression this is the year 2011, not 1960-whatever it was. The climate (not temperature) is a lot different now than it was forty plus years ago.

So, does the city of West Bumblefuck have the expertise to assess what waste products come from a given industrial plant that wants to setup shop in their area? When the plant pays off the city council will they care much? How much damage do you suspect needs to occur before the people have had enough (see Love Canal)? Once the damage is done who pays for the staggering cleanup costs to put it back to right? What about the people downwind living in East Bumblefuck who will be sucking on most of the emissions? They are just SOL?

There is no historical or current precedent suggesting it will all just work out as you suppose. There is a lot of historical and current precedent to suggest you are incredibly wrong about this.

user_hostile
08-16-2011, 02:28 PM
The idea that companies would simply pollute to their heart's content if the EPA was abolished in a lot of fearmongering. Even if the EPA was abolished, most local municipalities would pass their own laws limiting how much a business could pollute (or they would offer incentives for a company to not pollute).

Companies have more say at the local level. "What? Pass this legislation, ordnance, or what have you, and I'll move my company to a more business-friendly location!" In particular, I'm reminded of a large paper company in North Carolina engaged in precisely this behavior in order to avoid having to put pollution controls. When the EPA finally intervened (a story in itself) and called their bluff, they installed the pollution controls and remained in business.

Little Nemo
08-16-2011, 02:31 PM
I'm sorry, but I was under the impression this is the year 2011, not 1960-whatever it was. The climate (not temperature) is a lot different now than it was forty plus years ago.Yes it is and why is that?

Because we have the EPA.

This is the same logic liberals use when they argue against prisons. We put a bunch of people in prison and the crime rate went down. So they argue that now that the crime rate has dropped there's no reason to keep imprisoning people.

If you stop putting people in prison, the crime rate will go back up. And if you stop enforcing environmental laws, the pollution will come back.

Kiber
08-16-2011, 02:32 PM
Totally anecdotal, but I spent 15 years doing environmental cleanup driven by EPA. In my experience, EPA was painfully willing to negotiate, relax standards, ease requirements, etc. This notion that they are over-reaching jackbooted thugs imposing their will on poor, outgunned businesses is something that I've never seen, that's for sure.

Baracus
08-16-2011, 02:36 PM
The idea that companies would simply pollute to their heart's content if the EPA was abolished in a lot of fearmongering. Even if the EPA was abolished, most local municipalities would pass their own laws limiting how much a business could pollute (or they would offer incentives for a company to not pollute).
That might work if the pollution stayed put, but I think you would have a problem convincing a municipality to reduce its power plant pollution because acid rain was falling 500 miles away or to implement riparian buffers around a river because of algae blooms 1000 miles downriver.

Bricker
08-16-2011, 02:45 PM
Yes it is and why is that?

Because we have the EPA.

This is the same logic liberals use when they argue against prisons. We put a bunch of people in prison and the crime rate went down. So they argue that now that the crime rate has dropped there's no reason to keep imprisoning people.

If you stop putting people in prison, the crime rate will go back up. And if you stop enforcing environmental laws, the pollution will come back.

I try to avoid, "Me, too," posts, but this logic seems unassailable.

Ike Witt
08-16-2011, 02:52 PM
As I said, I work with the EPA or local districts implementing EPA regulation. There are plenty of headaches for my clients, but our hands have never been tied so completely we couldn't find a solution.

Best user name/ post combination in the thread.

For those who think you can manage without the EPA, you should ask HookerChemical about a section of Niagara Falls, New York.

Maeglin
08-16-2011, 03:03 PM
This seems like it would devolve into a "lowest bidder" scenario: the municipality willing to enact the most lenient ant-pollution laws is the one that's going to host the most corporations. Moreover, part of the problem is that air and water pollution generated in one area can easily migrate to another. So Los Angeles sets strict pollution limits, and Santa Monica says "build your plant here and crank out as much toxic shit as you like;" LA ends up looking just like it did in the '60's and '70's.

See tragedy of the commons. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons)

This is a pretty good intuition. But there is somewhat more to the issue. This (http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/sr/SR142.pdf) is an extremely good paper on the subject by a pair of economists. It is highly technical and quite long, but you can get the gist from the abstract and the first few pages and the concluding remarks beginning on page 56. The argument is that fully decentralized markets are very bad at providing pure public goods (i.e., environmental protection) when there are global externalities. Chari & Jones' first example is the classical Coasian problem of how to allocate the right to avoid air pollution when you live near a factory.

I cite this paper here both because it is very good and because it highlights the naivete of OMG's argument.

Omg a Black Conservative
08-16-2011, 03:25 PM
Yes it is and why is that?

Because we have the EPA.

This is the same logic liberals use when they argue against prisons. We put a bunch of people in prison and the crime rate went down. So they argue that now that the crime rate has dropped there's no reason to keep imprisoning people.

If you stop putting people in prison, the crime rate will go back up. And if you stop enforcing environmental laws, the pollution will come back.

I was unaware that I said anything about not enforcing any kind of environmental protection laws. I'm quite curious how you go from my post, to this.

smiling bandit
08-16-2011, 03:27 PM
Perhaps you'd like to offer some specific examples we could consider?

Certainly. For example, most big construction projects these days have big environmental reviews to go through. These things are pricey as all get out, and at the end of it it's unlikely that anyone will look or care. If they do, it's further unclear as to whether or not the document means anything: whether or not the project actually is stopped for environmental reasons seems to have more to do with local politics.

Much more importantly, it's "handling" of endangered species is flat embarassing. The regulations which supposedly protect endangered species quite often lead to whole habitats being demolished, even if neither property owners nor the EPS want that. The EPA can't comprehend anything between "total wildland, ignore it" and "nothing growing whatsoever". So it will try to nail down prime real estate people need even if the actual environmental value is minimal, while ignoring areas where they could do much more good in terms of promoting species recovery.

I could go on, but there's little point. I despise the EPA, among several other agencies which at this point do mroe harm than good. Note, too, that regulations redated the EPA by many years. it needs to be taken down and rebuilt.*

*Lest this confuse people who think in terms of "Mend It, Don't End It" slogans, repeated studies demonstrate that changing workplace culture is extremely difficult. I'm all for smashing the EPA and hiring entirely new staff, who might have a clue.

JoelUpchurch
08-16-2011, 03:42 PM
I'd get rid of the NRC first. They cause more pollution by keeping us by replacing coal plants with nuclear plants.

Seriously the biggest problem with the EPA is that there is no way for them to stop. They can't say we have reached the point of diminishing returns and there are no proven health problems with the current limits. The best thing to do would be to say they enforce existing regulations and limits, but the can't change them.

boytyperanma
08-16-2011, 03:48 PM
Could Congress be expected to make good decisions with regard to environmental stewardship?

This made me laugh out loud. I'm just picturing a politician blocking a pollution ban to further his own ends, "cut taxes or the drinking water gets it."

Recently congress has proven they can't or are unwilling to do what is best for the country, they will use anything as a political bargaining chip to make it through the next election. I'd really prefer we keep the EPA as an independent organization that remains stable regardless of political power changes.

The day to day activities need to happen day to day not whenever congress gets a chance to look at environmental legislation. Congress still has the ability to make adjustments to the EPA as necessary, if it is overreaching or under-performing, they can fix that. If they can't keep their own agency in check maybe it's Congress that needs to be abolished and not the EPA.

Twoflower
08-16-2011, 03:49 PM
The EPA has nothing to with enforcing the endangered species act. That's the Fish & Wildlife Service's department. They also have little or no involvement in most environmental impact studies -- the various federal agencies are responsible for assessing their own projects.

Little Nemo
08-16-2011, 04:16 PM
I was unaware that I said anything about not enforcing any kind of environmental protection laws. I'm quite curious how you go from my post, to this.Because your post is disingenuous. Dozens of small regulatory agencies will cost at least as much as one centralized agency so there won't be any reduction in government spending. But what there would be is a reduction in efficiency - the small agencies collectively won't be able to do as much as the single centralized agency.

Which is the real point of course. Corporations don't really want a small government or an elimination of government waste - heck, plenty of corporations are living off government money. What they want is a government that's big and expensive but weak.

Environmental regulation is one of those things that the political process handles poorly. It's like the deficit - the benefits are here today and the costs are years in the future. Legislators would be willing to deregulate for jobs and political contributions, confident that the rise in the cancer rate won't show up for twenty years or so.

Machine Elf
08-16-2011, 04:25 PM
I'd get rid of the NRC first. They cause more pollution by keeping us by replacing coal plants with nuclear plants.

Seriously the biggest problem with the EPA is that there is no way for them to stop. They can't say we have reached the point of diminishing returns and there are no proven health problems with the current limits. The best thing to do would be to say they enforce existing regulations and limits, but the can't change them.

How then do we deal with the unknowns of new technology? One example is the budding field of nanotechnology. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_nanotechnology) I'm speaking here not about futuristic tiny robots, but rather nanoparticles - extremely small particles of common chemicals that exhibit unusual properties as a result of their extremely high surface-area-to-volume ratio. To cite the example shown at the Wikipedia link: whereas large particles and chunks of zinc oxide aren't particularly toxic, research is showing that ZnO nanoparticles can exhibit unusual toxicity. It may not be wise to stick to old rules when new ways of using/producing old chemicals are developed.

How also do we deal with new information? Example: pollution research has shown in recent years that the toxicity of particulate exhaust from engines and industry/power plants is closely related to the size of the particles. So even if you severely limit the total mass of particles emitted, the stuff that's still being emitted (if composed of nanoparticles) may mean that the exhaust isn't a whole lot less dangerous than when the engine was billowing black smoke (which is mostly very large particles).

Finally, if we freeze current regs, how can we take advantage of new technology? It's not wise to regulate pollution so strictly that you crush the economy. That is of course the complaint these days from some sectors, but if you observe the history of (for example) automotive emissions regulations, you will see that there has been a gradual tightening of the rules over time. Rules implemented within the past decade could not possibly have been enacted in the mid-1970's because the technology did not exist at that time to meet those goals. Similarly, technology will continue to advance in the future, enabling the EPA to pursue even tighter regulations - not because they hate business, but because even in the current state of affairs there are still many, many non-attainment areas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-attainment_area) in the US; numerous cities experience "ozone action days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_Action_Day)" or days with hazardous levels of particulate pollution.

So it seems to me that you need to maintain a body of scientists and policymakers who can respond to the development of new technology (both to limit its negative impact and to take advantage of the benefits it might offer) and also pursue/utilize new knowledge about the science of pollution.

Peremensoe
08-16-2011, 04:30 PM
smiling bandit, you're offering generalizations, and as noted not necessarily ones within the EPA purview anyway.

Much more importantly, it's "handling" of endangered species is flat embarassing. The regulations which supposedly protect endangered species quite often lead to whole habitats being demolished, even if neither property owners nor the EPS want that.

I have no idea what you're talking about here. Can you point to a specific case example, so we can try to examine what happened and why?

I could go on, but there's little point.

That may be...

Sam Stone
08-16-2011, 04:48 PM
You know, you can oppose the EPA while still supporting environmental protection. Canada doesn't have an EPA. In fact, only the U.S. does. But other countries manage not to foul their own environment at least as well without it.

The primary argument with the EPA as well with other federal bureaucracies like the FDA is that they are too politicized and unaccountable. If a president appoints an activist EPA administrator, suddenly the entire regulatory landscape changes - if not in the laws themselves, but in the threats of new laws or the administration and enforcement of current ones. Then another president comes along and appoints a laissez-faire administrator, and the entire regulatory landscape changes again. This makes it hard for businesses to plan, and it drives up business risk which lowers investment.

There's been a trend in Washington to increase the size of the bureaucracy, to create more departments and more administrators. But Congress itself is roughly the same size as it was when the overall size of government was much smaller. This means oversight becomes more difficult, transparency vanishes, and more decisions are made behind closed doors and under the influence of lobbyists. You can argue that this is not a healthy trend and that reform is needed, without also advocating that the rivers be allowed to burn and sewage be dumped willy-nilly into the environment.

Broomstick
08-16-2011, 05:03 PM
What's your take? Do we need the EPA anymore?
Absolutely

Are jobs unnecessarily being crushed under the burden of excessive environmental regs?
Prior to the EPA lives were be unnecessarily crushed under the burden of excessive environmental pollution.

If anything, there are more jobs on the balance due to the need to staff the EPA, the impetus to start companies to provide equipment to test, monitor, and deal with pollution sources, and provide clean up services.

Could Congress be expected to make good decisions with regard to environmental stewardship?
Sometimes - I thought forming the EPA was a good move on their part, for example. But Congresscritters aren't environmental experts - it makes total sense for Congress to set up an agency staffed with experts and experience in that area for the actual regulation enforcement and study of problems.

Whack-a-Mole
08-16-2011, 05:12 PM
Canada doesn't have an EPA.

I thought Environment Canada (http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=BD3CE17D-1) was the Canadian equivalent of the EPA.

Certainly Canada has environmental regulations and enforces them.

Whack-a-Mole
08-16-2011, 05:14 PM
There's been a trend in Washington to increase the size of the bureaucracy, to create more departments and more administrators. But Congress itself is roughly the same size as it was when the overall size of government was much smaller. This means oversight becomes more difficult, transparency vanishes, and more decisions are made behind closed doors and under the influence of lobbyists. You can argue that this is not a healthy trend and that reform is needed, without also advocating that the rivers be allowed to burn and sewage be dumped willy-nilly into the environment.

Do you have examples of the EPA running amok? That it is an out-of-control agency that has established its own little fiefdom due to lack of oversight from Congress and no transparency?

The Tooth
08-16-2011, 05:17 PM
Certainly. For example, most big construction projects these days have big environmental reviews to go through. These things are pricey as all get out, and at the end of it it's unlikely that anyone will look or care.

Odd, I was talking to a friend just last night about this. A new conservatory has just been built on the campus he works at, and he's quite upset that it was designed by American architects according to an American environmental standard that's 15-20 years behind the times. It would be a remarkable coincidence if I knew the only person who did look or does care.

The campus is pretty keen on being, or seeming to be, environmentally conscious in its operation. I'm sure the foreign architectural firm (another black mark) takes an interest, otherwise they wouldn't build to the outdated Yankee standard in question. So I reject your claim that it's unlikely anyone will look or care.

Peremensoe
08-16-2011, 05:17 PM
If anything, there are more jobs on the balance due to the need to staff the EPA, the impetus to start companies to provide equipment to test, monitor, and deal with pollution sources, and provide clean up services.

Also, jobs either developing alternate cleaner technologies, or following more labor-intensive cleaner processes. Of course it's true that adhering to environmental standards can cost companies more--but one of the ways that can happen is by requiring more jobs in the industry. If the industry's products are something that we really want, we'll find ways to do it.

BrainGlutton
08-16-2011, 05:25 PM
You know, you can oppose the EPA while still supporting environmental protection. Canada doesn't have an EPA.

Canada does have a Cabinet-level (which the EPA is not) department called Environment Canada. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_Canada)

Sam Stone
08-16-2011, 05:34 PM
Guys, I know that other countries have environmental regulations and regulatory bodies. My point was that it's possible to argue against the specific implementation of an environmental regulatory regime without arguing against the need for environmental regulation.

For example, when it comes to drug regulation every country has its own equivalent of the FDA. And yet, drugs do not get approved at the same time everywhere, or at the same cost. Some countries legalize drugs that other countries do not. Sometimes drugs are available for years in other countries before the FDA approves them, and I imagine the reverse is also true.

There's nothing wrong with looking at the specific structure and powers of a regulatory agency to see if it still makes sense in a new era, or whether it made sense at all. And yet in the U.S., such debates instantly cause people to withdraw into their partisan corners and start sniping at each other. Maybe that's one of the reasons why the U.S. government is so bloody screwed up.

Whack-a-Mole
08-16-2011, 05:54 PM
There's nothing wrong with looking at the specific structure and powers of a regulatory agency to see if it still makes sense in a new era, or whether it made sense at all. And yet in the U.S., such debates instantly cause people to withdraw into their partisan corners and start sniping at each other. Maybe that's one of the reasons why the U.S. government is so bloody screwed up.

I agree on the overall premise. A global FDA might make sense. An international body agrees to standards then an international body tests and approves new drugs according to those standards and the new drug can go on the market everywhere at the same time. Hell, pharmaceutical companies would save a fortune not having to jump through regulation hoops everywhere they go.

Not going to happen though. There is partisan sniping...or rather lunatic sniping already from the Tea Partiers on the notion you are talking about. This is a big part of the bloody screw-up you mentioned.

Meet Agenda 21:

First, they took on the political establishment in Congress. Now, tea partiers have trained their sights on a new and insidious target: local planning and zoning commissions, which activists believe are carrying out a global conspiracy to trample American liberties and force citizens into Orwellian "human habitation zones."

At the root of this plot is the admittedly sinister-sounding Agenda 21, an 18-year-old UN plan to encourage countries to consider the environmental impacts of human development. Tea partiers see Agenda 21 behind everything from a septic tank inspection law in Florida to a plan in Maine to reduce traffic on Route 1. The issue even flared up briefly during the midterms, when Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes accused his Democratic opponent of using a bike-sharing program to convert Denver into a "United Nations Community."

SOURCE: http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/11/tea-party-agenda-21-un-sustainable-development

HookerChemical
08-16-2011, 06:01 PM
Best user name/ post combination in the thread.

For those who think you can manage without the EPA, you should ask HookerChemical about a section of Niagara Falls, New York.

While my username is inspired by Hooker Chemical, the company behind the Love Canal fiasco, I'm no expert in Love Canal (or CERCLA/Superfund, the regulation that resulted from the incident). Most of my work is Clean Air Act and greenhouse gas (even before it became tied to the CAA), with some RCRA and related work.


Certainly. For example, most big construction projects these days have big environmental reviews to go through. These things are pricey as all get out, and at the end of it it's unlikely that anyone will look or care. If they do, it's further unclear as to whether or not the document means anything: whether or not the project actually is stopped for environmental reasons seems to have more to do with local politics.

People have already hit on the EPA/endangered species issue, so I'll take this one on.

The EPA doesn't require environmental impact reports. They don't frequently enforce them, comment on them, or file suit over them. An EIR is required by the NEPA regulation. The review can fall to many agencies. I've seen the FAA file comments on a landfill's EIR, so you'd be surprised which agencies are interested.

Many types of projects, not only construction projects, have to go through an environmental review to determine what their environmental impact will be. This can include air and water impact, endangered species issues, and even the view (this is where the FAA commented, as there was an airport nearby). Nothing in an EIR prohibits a project from proceeding, but "significant" findings will require that the agency with jurisdiction over the project (typically the county here in California) acknowledge the significance and state that the project benefits outweigh the impacts.

So other than the EPA's administration of two programs it doesn't have jurisdiction over, would you care to add another example, smiling bandit?

MEBuckner
08-16-2011, 06:01 PM
Guys, I know that other countries have environmental regulations and regulatory bodies. My point was that it's possible to argue against the specific implementation of an environmental regulatory regime without arguing against the need for environmental regulation.

For example, when it comes to drug regulation every country has its own equivalent of the FDA. And yet, drugs do not get approved at the same time everywhere, or at the same cost. Some countries legalize drugs that other countries do not. Sometimes drugs are available for years in other countries before the FDA approves them, and I imagine the reverse is also true.

There's nothing wrong with looking at the specific structure and powers of a regulatory agency to see if it still makes sense in a new era, or whether it made sense at all. And yet in the U.S., such debates instantly cause people to withdraw into their partisan corners and start sniping at each other. Maybe that's one of the reasons why the U.S. government is so bloody screwed up.
And then we should all sing "Kumbaya"!

See, posts like this one:
You know, you can oppose the EPA while still supporting environmental protection. Canada doesn't have an EPA. In fact, only the U.S. does. But other countries manage not to foul their own environment at least as well without it.
Really don't advance any kind of useful argument. Because it only takes about 30 seconds for even us ignorant Americans to discover the existence of Environment Canada (http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=BD3CE17D-1). So...what was the point of saying "Canada doesn't have an EPA"? I mean, it's technically true--there is no agency or department of the Canadian government called "the Environmental Protection Agency". Guess what--no other country on Earth has a government department called "Environment Canada"!!! (I didn't actually bother to verify this--I'm just going with my gut on that one.)

Perhaps you could explain to us what "Environment Canada" does or does not do that is different from (and better than) what the "United States Environmental Protection Agency" does or does not do. I'm fairly certain, though, that whatever advantages Environment Canada may have over the EPA, making the EPA more like Environment Canada could not, in any way, be described as "abolishing the EPA".

Little Nemo
08-16-2011, 06:18 PM
Much more importantly, it's "handling" of endangered species is flat embarassing. The regulations which supposedly protect endangered species quite often lead to whole habitats being demolished, even if neither property owners nor the EPS want that. I have no idea what you're talking about here. Can you point to a specific case example, so we can try to examine what happened and why?What he's saying on this issue is true.

The law says a property owner can't develop land if it's the habitat of an endangered species. So let's say you buy a piece of property that has some wilderness on it. You realize based on the area you live in and the type of land it is that there may be some endangered species living on your property. But the species hasn't actually been seen on your land yet.

Now you might not have had any immediate plans on developing the wild areas of your property. But you also know that you might want to develop it some day in the future or perhaps sell the property to someone else.

So at this point, the smartest thing to do from the viewpoint of your own self-interest is plow up the wilderness area of your property as quickly as possible. That way there's no possibility that the endangered species will be found on your property and your development opportunities won't be restricted. I assume this is what smiling bandit was referring to.

That said, the fact that there are flaws in the system doesn't justify to me a need to scrap the entire system.

Sam Stone
08-16-2011, 06:25 PM
And then we should all sing "Kumbaya"!

See, posts like this one:

Really don't advance any kind of useful argument. Because it only takes about 30 seconds for even us ignorant Americans to discover the existence of Environment Canada (http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=BD3CE17D-1). So...what was the point of saying "Canada doesn't have an EPA"? I mean, it's technically true--there is no agency or department of the Canadian government called "the Environmental Protection Agency". Guess what--no other country on Earth has a government department called "Environment Canada"!!! (I didn't actually bother to verify this--I'm just going with my gut on that one.)


The whole point was to suggest that the EPA is not the only environmental regulatory body around, and that it's totally fair to suggest changes to the EPA without being tarred as an anarchist or a hater of the environment, or whatever.

Perhaps you could explain to us what "Environment Canada" does or does not do that is different from (and better than) what the "United States Environmental Protection Agency" does or does not do. I'm fairly certain, though, that whatever advantages Environment Canada may have over the EPA, making the EPA more like Environment Canada could not, in any way, be described as "abolishing the EPA".

Why not? I'm actually not up on the differences between the way Environment Canada works and how the EPA works. I'm not saying Environment Canada is the right model. My point was that it's a false dichotomy to suggest that you either have to support the EPA as it exists or you're an enemy of the environment.

JoelUpchurch
08-16-2011, 06:55 PM
How then do we deal with the unknowns of new technology? One example is the budding field of nanotechnology. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_nanotechnology) I'm speaking here not about futuristic tiny robots, but rather nanoparticles - extremely small particles of common chemicals that exhibit unusual properties as a result of their extremely high surface-area-to-volume ratio. To cite the example shown at the Wikipedia link: whereas large particles and chunks of zinc oxide aren't particularly toxic, research is showing that ZnO nanoparticles can exhibit unusual toxicity. It may not be wise to stick to old rules when new ways of using/producing old chemicals are developed.


This is exactly the what I'm talking about. You want to give EPA unlimited powers with no accountability and no cost accounting to look at the cost effectiveness and too much use of the precautionary principle. If the evidence isn't strong enough to convince Congress that new regulations are needed then they can't regulate it. Giving the EPA the power means giving an limited budget and power to unelected bureaucrats.

monstro
08-16-2011, 07:09 PM
I work in water quality regs for the state. As has been said more than once in this thread, EPA--even under the current administration--bends over backwards for industry.

And most state environmental agencies are the same way.

You think these places are full of idealistic tree-huggers? Ha! Real tree-huggers hate us because they know we kow-tow too much to Big Industry. Unfortunately all their comments to public notices and letters to the editor of their local fish wrap have little influence compared to the clout of industrial dischargers.

EPA is bound by the law. The law is created by Republicans and Democrats alike. If citizens and corporations do not like what the EPA does, they are well within their right to sue them. The courts do not always rule in their favor.

You can have all the environmental regs on the books that you want, but without a body dedicated to enforcing these laws, you're basically doing nothing. What, is a police officer supposed to hand-cuff a municipal waste-water facility operator for being out of compliance with their permit? How would this go about? Does Officer Bubba walk around with a Winkler test tied to his belt and a portable wet lab in his black-and-white? Without a regulatory agency in charge of protection, are you really willing to trust that the well water you drink is not contaminated with toxics and nastiness from your unsewered neighbors, the water you swim in is not swarming with E. coli, and the fish you eat are not chockful of mercury from the landfill leachate upstream?

Yeah...why don't we test it out and see how many people complain when their kids become double-amputees after wading in their local streams or there are no more bluecrabs or salmon to eat any more because their habitats have been destroyed. Or better yet, when watermen no longer have any jobs any more! I'm sure no one will be complaining then.

YogSothoth
08-16-2011, 07:41 PM
What's your take? Do we need the EPA anymore? Are jobs unnecessarily being crushed under the burden of excessive environmental regs? Could Congress be expected to make good decisions with regard to environmental stewardship?

We still need the EPA.

Some jobs are probably diminished by regulations, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And some might be saved because of it.

No, Congress cannot be expected to make good decisions about the environment.

Peremensoe
08-16-2011, 07:50 PM
I assume this is what smiling bandit was referring to.

That said, the fact that there are flaws in the system doesn't justify to me a need to scrap the entire system.

I realized what he probably meant later. That points to what has been seen in different contexts as a strength and a weakness of ESA-based protection, that it depends on particular places being identified as homes to particular species. This is a strength in the sense that it's usually easier for people to identify with animals rather than habitats, and a species sighting obviates to some extent the need for more complicated analysis. It's a weakness in the sense that endangered habitat is really more important environmentally. Every parcel of land protected by ESA on the basis of Species X living there is effectively protecting many other species--and such protections would still be relevant even if Species X disappeared, or alternatively moved out of the endangered category.

Baracus
08-16-2011, 08:07 PM
The whole point was to suggest that the EPA is not the only environmental regulatory body around, and that it's totally fair to suggest changes to the EPA without being tarred as an anarchist or a hater of the environment, or whatever.
Well, if that was your point, then maybe you should have just said that. I doubt you would find many people that think "the EPA" is the perfect incarnation of a environment regulatory agency. However when Bachmann and others call for abolishing the EPA, I don't get the sense that the are opposed to "the EPA" but any federal environmental agency. They don't say "here are the changes I would make" or "here is what I would replace it with". They just say they want it gone, period.

brickbacon
08-16-2011, 08:10 PM
The whole point was to suggest that the EPA is not the only environmental regulatory body around, and that it's totally fair to suggest changes to the EPA without being tarred as an anarchist or a hater of the environment, or whatever.

The problem is that the people advocating this are not arguing for changes, they are arguing that the agency shouldn't exist at all. They are also many of the same people who generally don't believe in government, or its ability to affect change. I would even go further to speculate that most of them couldn't point to any specific examples of ineffectiveness or overreach, or provide a reasoned argument for their position beyond a general belief that government is bad. It's not that people can't fathom that the EPA has room for improvement, it's that calls for its demise are usually not borne out of any concern for the environment or government efficiency.

monstro
08-16-2011, 09:04 PM
Some jobs are probably diminished by regulations...


Actually, I would argue that environmental laws have created many jobs. Facilities hire staff who make sure they are within compliance of permits for air and water, and retain environmental lawyers just to deal with state agencies and EPA. Land developers hire firms to handle all the Clean Water Act requirements (environmental impact statements, wetland permitting, etc.). Other firms are hired to do remediation and habitat restoration and to calculate TMDLs (total maximum daily loads...what the politicians like to call a "pollution diet" required for every navigable waterbody that has impairments). Not to mention...EPA and state environmental agencies employ many engineers, biologists, geologists, chemists, statisticians, and lawyers. They also contract with universities and consulting firms.

Little Nemo
08-16-2011, 09:56 PM
I realized what he probably meant later. That points to what has been seen in different contexts as a strength and a weakness of ESA-based protection, that it depends on particular places being identified as homes to particular species. This is a strength in the sense that it's usually easier for people to identify with animals rather than habitats, and a species sighting obviates to some extent the need for more complicated analysis. It's a weakness in the sense that endangered habitat is really more important environmentally. Every parcel of land protected by ESA on the basis of Species X living there is effectively protecting many other species--and such protections would still be relevant even if Species X disappeared, or alternatively moved out of the endangered category.And as others have pointed out, the EPA has very little to do with endangered species. The EPA is the agency that monitors air and water pollution and they're usually working around factories not forests. The agency that watches endangered species and habitats is the Fish and Wildlife Service.

suranyi
08-16-2011, 10:10 PM
The whole point was to suggest that the EPA is not the only environmental regulatory body around, and that it's totally fair to suggest changes to the EPA without being tarred as an anarchist or a hater of the environment, or whatever.



Why not? I'm actually not up on the differences between the way Environment Canada works and how the EPA works. I'm not saying Environment Canada is the right model. My point was that it's a false dichotomy to suggest that you either have to support the EPA as it exists or you're an enemy of the environment.

The question in this thread is not "Should we make changes to the EPA?". It is "Should we abolish the EPA?".

GIGObuster
08-16-2011, 10:32 PM
Certainly. For example, most big construction projects these days have big environmental reviews to go through. These things are pricey as all get out, and at the end of it it's unlikely that anyone will look or care. If they do, it's further unclear as to whether or not the document means anything: whether or not the project actually is stopped for environmental reasons seems to have more to do with local politics.

Much more importantly, it's "handling" of endangered species is flat embarassing. The regulations which supposedly protect endangered species quite often lead to whole habitats being demolished, even if neither property owners nor the EPS want that. The EPA can't comprehend anything between "total wildland, ignore it" and "nothing growing whatsoever". So it will try to nail down prime real estate people need even if the actual environmental value is minimal, while ignoring areas where they could do much more good in terms of promoting species recovery.

I could go on, but there's little point. I despise the EPA, among several other agencies which at this point do mroe harm than good. Note, too, that regulations redated the EPA by many years. it needs to be taken down and rebuilt.*

*Lest this confuse people who think in terms of "Mend It, Don't End It" slogans, repeated studies demonstrate that changing workplace culture is extremely difficult. I'm all for smashing the EPA and hiring entirely new staff, who might have a clue.
Uh, The lead federal agencies for implementing ESA are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service. There are parts of the ESA implemented by the EPA, but IIUC it is the ESA who tells the EPA what to do more often.

Machine Elf
08-17-2011, 08:30 AM
This is exactly the what I'm talking about. You want to give EPA unlimited powers with no accountability and no cost accounting to look at the cost effectiveness and too much use of the precautionary principle.

That's not what I said. You originally asserted:

The best thing to do would be to say they enforce existing regulations and limits, but the can't change them.

and my response, summarized here, was that freezing regulations at some totally arbitrary point in time is foolhardy because it eliminates the ability to respond to new information and new environmental threats, and the ability to take advantage of new technology. It presupposes that the current state of affairs is the best that things can possibly be, and that no further consideration is required.

Example: if your proposal to freeze regs had been adopted 40 years ago, we would still be driving carburetted cars that had no exhaust aftertreatment.

Bryan Ekers
08-17-2011, 08:43 AM
Smithers: Well, sir, where should we dump this batch [of nuclear waste]? Playground?
Burns: No. All those bald children are arousing suspicion.

YogSothoth
08-17-2011, 11:07 AM
Actually, I would argue that environmental laws have created many jobs. Facilities hire staff who make sure they are within compliance of permits for air and water, and retain environmental lawyers just to deal with state agencies and EPA. Land developers hire firms to handle all the Clean Water Act requirements (environmental impact statements, wetland permitting, etc.). Other firms are hired to do remediation and habitat restoration and to calculate TMDLs (total maximum daily loads...what the politicians like to call a "pollution diet" required for every navigable waterbody that has impairments). Not to mention...EPA and state environmental agencies employ many engineers, biologists, geologists, chemists, statisticians, and lawyers. They also contract with universities and consulting firms.

Uh, I don't disagree with that. You should read the rest of that line

fumster
08-17-2011, 11:22 AM
We don't need a federal agency like the EPA, because pollutants stop at each states' border and knock before they are allowed to enter.

Machine Elf
08-17-2011, 11:28 AM
The question in this thread is not "Should we make changes to the EPA?". It is "Should we abolish the EPA?".

Thank you, yes. The conservative candidates in my OP are not talking about just making changes, they're talking about completely shitcanning the entire agency. All of its scientists, engineers, chemists, biologists, public policy experts, industry liasons, enforcement officials, and so on. Everything.

JoelUpchurch
08-17-2011, 12:06 PM
That's not what I said. You originally asserted:



and my response, summarized here, was that freezing regulations at some totally arbitrary point in time is foolhardy because it eliminates the ability to respond to new information and new environmental threats, and the ability to take advantage of new technology. It presupposes that the current state of affairs is the best that things can possibly be, and that no further consideration is required.

Example: if your proposal to freeze regs had been adopted 40 years ago, we would still be driving carburetted cars that had no exhaust aftertreatment.

Your example is flawed. The EPA regulates the tailpipe emissions, not the technology. The EPA has nothing to do with enabling new technology.

Most of the electric coal plants in the United States still don't use scrubbers to reduce their sulfur dioxide emissions, they just use low sulfur coal.

You seem obsessed that we need protection from future risks and the EPA should allowed to control it without future congressional action. If the risk is clear enough, let Congress decide and not unelected bureaucrats who don't care how many people they put out of work or what the economic consequences of their regulations are.

The EPA has shown a tendency to regulate situations where the health risks are unproven and the result is to destroy the business they try to regulate.

Whack-a-Mole
08-17-2011, 12:09 PM
The EPA has shown a tendency to regulate situations where the health risks are unproven and the result is to destroy the business they try to regulate.

Can you provide some examples?

Machine Elf
08-17-2011, 01:01 PM
Your example is flawed. The EPA regulates the tailpipe emissions, not the technology. The EPA has nothing to do with enabling new technology.

I didn't say they had anything to do with enabling new technology; rather, I spoke of taking advantage of new technology as it becomes available. Example, EPA never mandated closed-loop fuel injection and three-way cats for cars. But when that technology became feasible, EPA mandated emissions reductions that more or less necessitated the use of that technology in order to achieve the desired emissions levels.

You seem obsessed that we need protection from future risks and the EPA should allowed to control it without future congressional action.

If you're willing to freeze regs and disband the body of scientists who study new and old technology to identify previously unknown hazards, then you seem amazingly unconcerned. I'm imagining Indy's jungle guide in Raiders of the Lost Ark: "we must go quickly, there is nothing to fear here..."

If the risk is clear enough, let Congress decide and not unelected bureaucrats who don't care how many people they put out of work or what the economic consequences of their regulations are.

:rolleyes:

Gimme a break. If EPA didn't care about jobs or the economy, they would have enacted LEV standards back in the early '70's and banned coal power plants altogether.

If it is true that the EPA doesn't care about the economic consequences of its actions, I don't think the answer is to disband them and turn over regulatory authority to a body of people who are subject to intense lobbying by business interests that will be the subject of said regulatory authority.

The EPA has shown a tendency to regulate situations where the health risks are unproven and the result is to destroy the business they try to regulate.

Can you provide a few examples?

JoelUpchurch
08-17-2011, 01:16 PM
Can you provide some examples?

The first example I can think of is refining rare earth elements. Our domestic rare production has been essentially destroyed by regulation. This is a sad case of the actual results being to export pollution rather than reduce it.

Czarcasm
08-17-2011, 01:17 PM
The first example I can think of is refining rare earth elements. Our domestic rare production has been essentially destroyed by regulation. This is a sad case of the actual results being to export pollution rather than reduce it.Cite, please?

HookerChemical
08-17-2011, 01:20 PM
Your example is flawed. The EPA regulates the tailpipe emissions, not the technology. The EPA has nothing to do with enabling new technology.

Most of the electric coal plants in the United States still don't use scrubbers to reduce their sulfur dioxide emissions, they just use low sulfur coal.

IMO, the EPA has the right approach. The EPA shouldn't say "You must use scrubbers, a catalytic converter, and a baghouse." They should say "Emissions must be below this level, which has been demonstrated to be achievable. How you get there is up to you. You may use new technology if you demonstrate that it is effective."

If the EPA said you must use a single technology for a given application, there would be no market to develop another technology. If they leave that door open, more effective technology can be developed. This also results in lowering emissions even further, because established new technology becomes the new standard for anybody coming afterward.


You seem obsessed that we need protection from future risks and the EPA should allowed to control it without future congressional action. If the risk is clear enough, let Congress decide and not unelected bureaucrats who don't care how many people they put out of work or what the economic consequences of their regulations are.

Dear god, no. Congress has no background in toxicology, epidemiology, or even the basic statistics needed to understand the fields. Do you want them evaluating the validity of toxicology papers? Those unelected bureaucrats are toxicologists, doctors, engineers, and geologists who understand pollution, its transport, and its effects on plants and animals.

The EPA has shown a tendency to regulate situations where the health risks are unproven and the result is to destroy the business they try to regulate.

I hear a lot more complaining about the opposite. For example, perchlorate has been looked at as a toxic candidate by the EPA since 1998. It took 21 years for proposed rulemaking, which took another three and a half years while it gets input from the public and industry. Perchlorate has been shown to have chronic toxological effects since the 1970s. The delay in putting it on the candidate list is primarily due to a limitation in the detection technology, but subsequent delays are due to the slow machinations of evaluating how toxic it is, what can be done about contamination in drinking water, and industry resistance.

To say the EPA just jumps in and regulates when risks are unknown is an exageration. They may regulate when the risk is unknown, but it's almost always on the side of underregulation. If they know a pollutant is harmful, but not how harmful, they will regulate it but typically allow a much higher concentration or emission than they would if once they have a complete profile. Lead is one such example. In 1978, the EPA established a standard of 1.5 ug/m^3 for lead. That was based on the data available then. Since 1978, studies have demonstrated that people (especially children) are more sensitive to lead and are impacted at a much lower level than previously believed. In 2005, the standard was lowered to 0.15 ug/m^3.

Machine Elf
08-17-2011, 01:22 PM
The first example I can think of is refining rare earth elements. Our domestic rare production has been essentially destroyed by regulation. This is a sad case of the actual results being to export pollution rather than reduce it.

I think that (the export of pollution-producing industries) may be the case with a lot of industries - which is why places like Beijing and Mexico City have permanent smog. If those countries want to have brown air, that's their prerogative.

By your own admission, rare-earth production produces pollution. So what are you proposing as an alternative to the status quo? Bring those jobs and that smog back here?

HookerChemical
08-17-2011, 01:40 PM
Cite, please?

While JU's assertion that rare earth metal production in the US is collapsed (cite (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/11/the-challenges-of-restarting-us-rare-earth-metal-production/66310/)), I would like some evidence of the following:

EPA regulation led to the collapse of the US rare earth metal industry.
Said EPA regulation targeted a low-risk hazard.


Lets face it. Mining is full of toxic waste, product, and feedstock (cite (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1241872/EXCLUSIVE-Inside-Chinas-secret-toxic-unobtainium-mine.html)). It will always be cheaper to farm that out to a country with no regulation that's willing to let its businesses kill its citizens in toxic environments. I'm glad the US has stepped out of the race for the bottom.

LonghornDave
08-19-2011, 12:03 PM
Perhaps you'd like to offer some specific examples we could consider?

So does anyone have specific examples of the "overreaching" that EPA has apparently been doing?

Can you provide some examples?

I'll jump in with a specific example.

The EPA's Abuse of Power (http://www.weeklystandard.com/print/blogs/epas-abuse-power_590334.html?nopager=1)

I recommend reading the entire short article, but I will provide a couple a quotes.

In December 2009, one Steven Lipsky noticed a problem with his water well at his new home just west of Dallas, Texas. He began to suspect that the source was a nearby natural gas well that Range Resources had built and “fracked” earlier that year to exploit a part of the massive Barnet Shale a mile underground.

...

EPA testing soon showed that there were traces of methane in his drinking water, and that, like the methane deep in the Barnet Shale, it was “thermogenic” rather than “biogenic.” All that proved was that both samples had come from deep underground, which was obvious anyway. But that was all the EPA needed to slap Range Resources with an endangerment finding and remediation order. “We know they’ve polluted the well,” claimed EPA regional administrator Al Armendariz in a television interview at the time. “We know they’re getting natural gas in there.”

At every step in this fast-moving fiasco, EPA’s legal position shifted: Its original order was based on the factual assertion that Range had caused the contamination; when it couldn’t explain how, it retreated to the position that Range “may have” caused it; and when that possibility was excluded, it retreated to the ultimate redoubt of government authority: arbitrary power. Now, confronted with incontrovertible evidence that the source of the gas was something else entirely, EPA claims that the law didn’t require to prove or even allege any connection between Range and the contamination. It is suing Range for millions of dollars for failure to comply fully with its original order.

By now it should be no surprise to learn that the Lipsky well wasn’t even “contaminated” to start with. The methane measured in Lipsky’s well water, 2.3 parts per million, was well within the typical range for wells in that area, and significantly below the federal endangerment threshold of 10 parts per million. According to the Department of Interior, water wells bearing methane below that threshold pose no endangerment if properly monitored and vented.

Additionally, the state regulator for oil and gas in Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas, has fought with the EPA over this issue and in fact issued a letter exonerating Range Resources.

RRC Final Order Letter (http://www.rangeresources.com/rangeresources/files/0b/0b38b1e4-05df-415e-bf8e-a8b4b16efaf1.pdf)

It is accordingly ORDERED that production from the Butler Unit Well No. 1H and Teak Unit Well No. 1H, operated by Range Production Company, shall be allowed to continue as Range Production Company has established that the operations of the wells have not caused or contributed, and are not causing or contributing to contamination of any domestic water wells

Whack-a-Mole
08-19-2011, 12:35 PM
I'll jump in with a specific example.

The EPA's Abuse of Power (http://www.weeklystandard.com/print/blogs/epas-abuse-power_590334.html?nopager=1)

I recommend reading the entire short article, but I will provide a couple a quotes.


Thanks for finding a cite.

I will note The Weekly Standard is distinctly conservative, started by William Kristol and owned by Rupert Murdoch. The bio for the author:

A former consultant to the Donald Rumsfeld-led Pentagon, Mario Loyola is a visiting fellow at the neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), an advocacy outlet created in the wake of 9/11 "to engage in the worldwide war of ideas and to support the defense of democratic societies under assault by terrorism and Militant Islamism," according to the foundation. Loyola is also a radio commentator and contributor to a number of rightist and neoconservative outlets, including the National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the American Enterprise, the in-house journal of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

According to his FDD biography, Loyola worked in the Pentagon from 2005 to 2006, where he "prepared speeches and op-eds for senior officials, assisted in the final preparation and roll-out of the 2005 National Defense Strategy, and worked on global energy and China issues with the policy planning staff." His FDD bio also claims that his "experience includes researching the founding of the United Nations and its effect on international law and global security while at the American Enterprise Institute. As an Uhuru Fellow at the International Republican Institute, he conducted research for the Institute's democracy and governance programs in Africa.

SOURCE: http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Loyola_Mario


NOTE: This is not to say anything he wrote about this is false or wrong. I do not mean that to be an ad hominem on Mr. Loyola's article. It does however make one suspicious and want to read a bit more closely.

It starts right in the first sentence:

"If you're looking for a dramatic example of a government regulatory agency run amok, consider EPA’s arbitrary and shameful attack on one Texas natural gas company." (from The Weekly Standard article (http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/epas-abuse-power_590334.html?nopager=1))

"Run amok" is loaded language and hardly indicated by a single example. Right off the bat he is painting a picture not merited by this one example in order to sway the reader into feeling there is a government agency out there running rampant and harming people.

Even if this one example is 100% true as Range Resources would have it that indicates one mistake. Shit happens. Innocent people are thrown in jail. Do we describe the judicial system as "running amok" because of it?

He then cites another article claiming the documentary Gasland is "largely fraudulent". The makers of Gasland have a a lengthy and point-by-point rebuttal (http://1trickpony.cachefly.net/gas/pdf/Affirming_Gasland_Sept_2010.pdf) (PDF) of claims made against them. Far more in depth than and well cited than the article Mr. Loyola referenced.

Obviously the makers have an agenda too and they want to protect their film. So, who to believe? Frankly I am not sure I would like someone like Una Persson to give an assessment. Barring that at least the Gasland rebuttal is, in fact, well cited and thorough.

As for the rest of it I am not sure what conclusions we can draw. So far it is mostly a he said/she said deal. They are in court and each side has sued the other (http://www.americanindependent.com/194199/range-resources-still-in-court-with-epa-sues-family-over-contaminated-water-claims). It remains to be seen who is correct.

Seems to me Mr. Loyola is jumping to conclusions. He may be right, he may be wrong. We just don't know yet and won't (probably) till the court cases are done and all the evidence is in.

In the end though the main point is this does not show a pervasive, overreaching EPA. It is one example and a data point. A good start perhaps but one example does not indicate a trend.

New Deal Democrat
08-19-2011, 12:43 PM
From the administrations of Lyndon Johnson to that of George W. Bush there were always more jobs created per year under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. More jobs were created when Harry Truman was president than when Dwight Eisenhower was president.

Don't take my word for it. Read this article from The Wall Street Journal.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/09/bush-on-jobs-the-worst-track-record-on-record/

When Republicans complain that legislation favored by liberals interferes with job creation, do not trust them. They like a high unemployment rate because it relieves employers of the need to compete for employees.

Republicans dislike environmental restrictions because they interfere with investment opportunities and profit making. They do not care any more about unemployed people than they care about Spotted Owls and Snail Darters.

Whack-a-Mole
08-19-2011, 01:00 PM
They are in court and each side has sued the other (http://www.americanindependent.com/194199/range-resources-still-in-court-with-epa-sues-family-over-contaminated-water-claims). It remains to be seen who is correct.

Seems to me Mr. Loyola is jumping to conclusions. He may be right, he may be wrong. We just don't know yet and won't (probably) till the court cases are done and all the evidence is in.


Oh yeah, don't hold your breath on that one.

In the Love Canal waste problem everyone knew who buried the waste there. The company fully admitted it and it was no secret. Waste barrels were literally floating up through the ground. The problem and the cause were abundantly apparent to anyone with eyes. Love Canal story broke in 1976. The case against the company finished in 1994.

For the Exxon Valdez again there was absolutely zero question of who owned the tanker and whose oil was washing up on shore. It took nearly 20 years for that case to be resolved.

Those were cases with a smoking gun. Here the facts are far harder to pin down. Expect the litigation to run for a loooong time.

JoelUpchurch
08-19-2011, 01:19 PM
I think that (the export of pollution-producing industries) may be the case with a lot of industries - which is why places like Beijing and Mexico City have permanent smog. If those countries want to have brown air, that's their prerogative.

By your own admission, rare-earth production produces pollution. So what are you proposing as an alternative to the status quo? Bring those jobs and that smog back here?

1. With rare earth production air pollution isn't the problem.

2. Do you think that the Chinese are dumping pollution into a different planet's atmosphere? Or a different ocean? Chinese pollution is a global problem.

3. Is it okay if we export the pollution? Is it okay to kill foreigners to sustain our lifestyle? If the result of the pollution regulation is to export the pollution, then you are actually making the problem worse, because you are sending it someplace where there are no controls at all.

LonghornDave
08-19-2011, 01:26 PM
He then cites another article claiming the documentary Gasland is "largely fraudulent". The makers of Gasland have a a lengthy and point-by-point rebuttal (http://1trickpony.cachefly.net/gas/pdf/Affirming_Gasland_Sept_2010.pdf) (PDF) of claims made against them. Far more in depth than and well cited than the article Mr. Loyola referenced.

Obviously the makers have an agenda too and they want to protect their film. So, who to believe? Frankly I am not sure I would like someone like Una Persson to give an assessment. Barring that at least the Gasland rebuttal is, in fact, well cited and thorough.

The Gasland comment is an aside and largely pointless to this EPA example. Further, stating that you believe the Gasland rebuttal to be better cited than this article is an apples to oranges issue. Gasland is attempting to rebut point by point claims made against it. This is a short article about an entirely different subject. Surely you can agree that a typical article is not a 39 page point by point writing exercise. Why in the world would you think it would be a legitimate criticism to state that this article is not as well cited and thorough as the rebuttal?

As for the rest of it I am not sure what conclusions we can draw. So far it is mostly a he said/she said deal. They are in court and each side has sued the other (http://www.americanindependent.com/194199/range-resources-still-in-court-with-epa-sues-family-over-contaminated-water-claims). It remains to be seen who is correct.

Seems to me Mr. Loyola is jumping to conclusions. He may be right, he may be wrong. We just don't know yet and won't (probably) till the court cases are done and all the evidence is in.

In the end though the main point is this does not show a pervasive, overreaching EPA. It is one example and a data point. A good start perhaps but one example does not indicate a trend.

It is worth mentioning once again that the primary regulator, the RRC, has opposed the EPA. It's not exactly just a he-said, she-said issue. I would agree if this was the company vs. the landowner. The EPA has certainly backed away from their initial claim and the primary regulator sides with the company. That's at least enough to tip the scales toward the EPA acting inappropriately initially.

Also, I wasn't attempting to make an full case of the EPA being overreaching. I was only trying to provide a single datapoint. I personally think they are stepping outside their authority and knowledge base on issues like this. However, I make no statement regarding overall overreaching done by the EPA; I have no opinion.

HookerChemical
08-19-2011, 01:48 PM
I'll jump in with a specific example.

The EPA's Abuse of Power (http://www.weeklystandard.com/print/blogs/epas-abuse-power_590334.html?nopager=1)


This is hardly the industry killing overreach the EPA has been accused of.

First, the linked article misrepresents some facts in the case. Methane isn't the only alleged containment; the testing also found hydrocarbons like benzene. Benzene was near the EPA limit, but not over. I'm not sure what standard the linked article is comparing the methane concentration to; however, the EPA order cites concentrations over 8 times higher than article and well above typical background concentrations. The presence of both methane and VOCs is very important because benzene is not naturally occurring in significant quantities. It's a common groundwater containment, typically from leaking underground storage tanks. If they only found methane in the water, I'd be leaning toward the Railroad Commission's conclusion that the methane was naturally occurring, but the presence of VOCs points to either a common source of both benzene and methane or two separate sources of contamination.

EPA testing soon showed that there were traces of methane in his drinking water, and that, like the methane deep in the Barnet Shale, it was “thermogenic” rather than “biogenic.” All that proved was that both samples had come from deep underground, which was obvious anyway.

The source of underground methane is never obvious. Take that from somebody who works with landfills, a methane generator. The data cited by the EPA (hydrocarbon contamination, elevated methane) could point to underground decay, which is why the determination of thermogenic rather than biogenic is important. The EPA has taken the first several steps toward finding the source of the contamination. To get any further, they need to collect sampling data and information about the fracking operations.

The article implies (though it doesn't directly lie) that this is a settled matter. It isn't. The case was stayed in June and sent to the Fifth Circuit, but that isn't the end of the case and the EPA will get a chance to substantiate its claim that Range Resources is the source of the pollution. This is a minor setback for the EPA at worst, and far from a total loss. Range Production had asked that the case be dismissed, which was denied.

On to the evil order issued by the EPA. This is the order being characterized as an overreach. What does the order say? Does it shut down an operation or even an entire industry? Does it bankrupt a small mom and pop startup, scrabbling to survive? Not even close. It requires the following:


Range Production notify the EPA of their intent to comply with the order.
Range Production provide an alternate water supply to the nearby residents.
Range Production will install explosivity meters in the impacted wells.
Range Production will identify nearby wells and propose a sampling plan and conduct sampling for those wells.
Range Production will submit a sampling plan and conduct that sampling of the nearby residences as well as soil gas.
Range Production will identify possible pathways for contamination of the aquifer, eliminate gas flow to the aquifer if possible, and remediate impacted areas of the aquifer.


The EPA hasn't told Range Production to shut down a single well, they told them to see if they were causing the contamination. This is the data collection phase I was discussing above. Before it's pointed out that Range Production already conducted sampling, including soil gas and well sampling, I'll concede that point. However, that sampling was not conducted with the oversight or guidance of the EPA. For example, the soil gas sampling (cited in the Railroad Commission paper) were collected from 1-3 feet beneath the surface. Soil gas at that depth is practically meaningless due to the high exchange rate in the first few feet of soil and the high chance of atmospheric infiltration during sampling. EPA guidance recommends that samples be taken at least 5 beet below the ground surface for this reason. In this case, sampling near the water table makes the most sense, not sampling near the surface. There's a good reason the EPA isn't accepting those data; it wasn't done according to the EPA guidance.


Here are the EPA's order and the June stay. (Warning: pdf)
EPA Order (http://www.frackinginsider.com/emergency_range_order%5B1%5D.pdf)
June Decision (http://www.frackinginsider.com/June_20_N.D.Tex.Order.pdf)

Whack-a-Mole
08-19-2011, 02:11 PM
The Gasland comment is an aside and largely pointless to this EPA example. Further, stating that you believe the Gasland rebuttal to be better cited than this article is an apples to oranges issue. Gasland is attempting to rebut point by point claims made against it. This is a short article about an entirely different subject. Surely you can agree that a typical article is not a 39 page point by point writing exercise. Why in the world would you think it would be a legitimate criticism to state that this article is not as well cited and thorough as the rebuttal?

Mr. Loyola was the one who brought it up and did so to show the people calling in the EPA did so in part from watching a "fraudulent" documentary. I point it out to show the nature of the language Loyola is using and how it is heavily skewed to form an unfavorable impression in the reader's mind.

That and other such unsupported (or barely supported and distinctly in question) assertions run through his article. The writer is not being honest and unbiased (as far as that goes in reporting) with his readers. Indeed is conservative skew and hostility to the EPA is quite apparent.

As such it throws doubt on the whole article as a source of reliable information on the facts.


It is worth mentioning once again that the primary regulator, the RRC, has opposed the EPA. It's not exactly just a he-said, she-said issue. I would agree if this was the company vs. the landowner. The EPA has certainly backed away from their initial claim and the primary regulator sides with the company. That's at least enough to tip the scales toward the EPA acting inappropriately initially.

It is also worth mentioning that the RRC has been accused of "corruption and ignoring public safety (http://www.khou.com/news/local/Texas-Railorad-Commission-accused--111707169.html)". Not by some lefty group but rather by a state commission formed to look into it. "Every 12 years, the Sunset Advisory Commission reviews all the state agencies throughout Texas. It has been highly critical of the Texas Railroad Commission." (from same linked story)

I think I will take RRC pronouncements with a lump of salt.


Also, I wasn't attempting to make an full case of the EPA being overreaching. I was only trying to provide a single datapoint. I personally think they are stepping outside their authority and knowledge base on issues like this. However, I make no statement regarding overall overreaching done by the EPA; I have no opinion.

If you want to say there is room for improvement in the EPA I would agree. There is room for improvement almost everywhere. You made the claim they are putting companies out of business. Even with this cite that is not the case (it may be someday but isn't now).

LonghornDave
08-19-2011, 02:39 PM
On to the evil order issued by the EPA. This is the order being characterized as an overreach. What does the order say? Does it shut down an operation or even an entire industry? Does it bankrupt a small mom and pop startup, scrabbling to survive? Not even close. It requires the following:


Range Production notify the EPA of their intent to comply with the order.
Range Production provide an alternate water supply to the nearby residents.
Range Production will install explosivity meters in the impacted wells.
Range Production will identify nearby wells and propose a sampling plan and conduct sampling for those wells.
Range Production will submit a sampling plan and conduct that sampling of the nearby residences as well as soil gas.
Range Production will identify possible pathways for contamination of the aquifer, eliminate gas flow to the aquifer if possible, and remediate impacted areas of the aquifer.


Do you think perhaps you are ignoring an important section of the EPA order? Perhaps the Conclusions of Law section? Perhaps the specific part where the EPA states that Range had caused or contributed to the endangerment of persons through such contaminants, and that action taken by the EPA as proscribed in the Emergency Order was necessary to protect the health of persons?

Further, aren't you perhaps missing the entire point of Range's argument?

In its Motion, Range contends that the Emergency Order, in only providing for an informal conference with no evidentiary hearing or opportunity to challenge the Emergency Order, does not provide Range with any process to challenge the EPA's findings.

Why don't you actually read your own cite: the Court Order. This is an issue of due process. Can the EPA fine a company without even having to prove the company did anything wrong or without even allowing the company to defend itself?

As noted at the hearing, the Court is struggling with the concept that the EPA can enforce the Emergency Order and obtain civil penalties from Range without ever having to prove to this Court, or another neutral arbiter, that Range actually caused the contamination ofthe Lipsky and Hayley wells, or without ever giving Range the opportunity to contest the EPA's conclusions.

LonghornDave
08-19-2011, 02:54 PM
Mr. Loyola was the one who brought it up and did so to show the people calling in the EPA did so in part from watching a "fraudulent" documentary. I point it out to show the nature of the language Loyola is using and how it is heavily skewed to form an unfavorable impression in the reader's mind.

I really don't want to hijack the thread with a shale gas discussion or the Gasland documentary. It really is not pertinent to the discussion about the EPA. I'll agree that the writer potentially poisoned the well by bringing that up. I won't say he is wrong by calling the documentary fraudulent: it is. If you want as close to an unbiased source as any of us will agree to on the subject, let's look at the New York Times's review of both the Energy in Depth critique of Gasland and the Gasland rebuttal: Groundtruthing Academy Award Nominee 'Gasland' (http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/02/24/24greenwire-groundtruthing-academy-award-nominee-gasland-33228.html?sq=gasland&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=all)

While I'm not going to say the New York Times always does a good job, I think they did a fairly decent and fair look at both the critique and the rebuttal. The bottom line though is that many of the claims made in Gasland are simply not true. I would be happy to comment in another thread on the subject if you wish to discuss further.


You made the claim they are putting companies out of business. Even with this cite that is not the case (it may be someday but isn't now).

I never made that claim. I made the claim that here is one specific example of the EPA overreaching. Other people in this thread may think the EPA is putting companies out of business, but I don't. I think they are seeking to make headlines and quick to jump the gun without completing the work. They may be putting companies out of business, but I don't know anything about that.

Whack-a-Mole
08-19-2011, 03:01 PM
Why don't you actually read your own cite: the Court Order. This is an issue of due process. Can the EPA fine a company without even having to prove the company did anything wrong or without even allowing the company to defend itself?
Originally Posted by Court Order
As noted at the hearing, the Court is struggling with the concept that the EPA can enforce the Emergency Order and obtain civil penalties from Range without ever having to prove to this Court, or another neutral arbiter, that Range actually caused the contamination ofthe Lipsky and Hayley wells, or without ever giving Range the opportunity to contest the EPA's conclusions.


What is unusual to the court about this?

Regulatory agencies do this sort of thing all the time. If three 757 jetliners crash with little explanation in short order the FAA will ground the fleet of 757's. Do you think they need to go into court and bicker for a few years to "prove" the crashes were due to a flaw in the plane's design?

No, they don't. They ground the fleet.

Why would you want it otherwise?

If some harm is occurring you want to stop it now. Not in a few years after you dork around in court with a recalcitrant industry.

LonghornDave
08-19-2011, 03:32 PM
What is unusual to the court about this?

Regulatory agencies do this sort of thing all the time. If three 757 jetliners crash with little explanation in short order the FAA will ground the fleet of 757's. Do you think they need to go into court and bicker for a few years to "prove" the crashes were due to a flaw in the plane's design?

No, they don't. They ground the fleet.

Why would you want it otherwise?

If some harm is occurring you want to stop it now. Not in a few years after you dork around in court with a recalcitrant industry.

Certainly the issue is whether an emergency response was justified. If three 757s crash for no apparent reason, it is plainly obvious that an emergency response is justified.

This court order specifically states the following.

the Fifth Circuit is presently considering whether the Emergency Order was issued arbitrarily or capriciously

HookerChemical
08-19-2011, 03:57 PM
Do you think perhaps you are ignoring an important section of the EPA order? Perhaps the Conclusions of Law section? Perhaps the specific part where the EPA states that Range had caused or contributed to the endangerment of persons through such contaminants, and that action taken by the EPA as proscribed in the Emergency Order was necessary to protect the health of persons?

Why don't you actually read your own cite: the Court Order. This is an issue of due process. Can the EPA fine a company without even having to prove the company did anything wrong or without even allowing the company to defend itself?

No. I didn't read the cite. I just pulled concentrations, sampling depths, and the orders out of my ass.[/sarcasm]

I think it's pretty clear that I read the references.

The fines the EPA wants to issue aren't related to the pollution, they're for not sampling and planning as required in the December Order. Range isn't contending that they have done the planning, sampling, or reporting; they're contending that having to do that monitoring and pollution prevention is unreasonable.

The EPA has presented a considerable amount of evidence that the well is contaminated and that the contamination is consistent with the contamination likely to come from the gas wells. The order would require that Range collect more data. That's pretty routine. Landfills are required to place monitoring wells around the site to monitor for offsite gas migration. Sites with leaking underground storage tanks are required to install monitoring wells. If they don't monitor, they face fines. Operations that have a significant risk of polluting must demonstrate that they're not polluting. It's not unreasonable to categorize natural gas production as having a significant risk for polluting, especially given the EPA's data from the drinking water wells.

The EPA has the ability to require action to prevent pollution and that not following the requirements to prevent pollution are violations. That's not even the subject of debate in the industry. It's been challenged and upheld. They have the power to issue fines in cases where a facility doesn't monitor emissions or test its discharge.

At the very worst, the EPA jumped the small step of going from finding a likely source of contamination to knowing the source of contamination, but that's why Ridge should monitor. At the very worst, they've required a company that makes millions of dollars per year to conduct tens of thousands of dollars of monitoring after evidence has been presented that they are a likely source of groundwater contamination. This case isn't one of overreach, and its certainly not the industry killer others were accusing the EPA of. There's a good chance the EPA can demonstrate that the pollution is coming from Range's facilities. I can't rule out that it's coming from somewhere else, but the EPA's data is significant.

Think about this scenario. It's not an uncommon one.
A gas station is known to have had a leaky underground storage tank, so it has monitoring wells installed. They're sampled periodicity and typically show only gas-related contaminants. After a period of a couple years, they start to have consistent detection of perc (a dry cleaning chemical) in the up-gradient well. The local regulator (typically a county or water board level regulator here in California, but it varies by state) is likely to open an investigation of the dry cleaner up the water table, as that's the likely source. If they don't enforce the regulations to keep pollution like perc out of the groundwater, the EPA will step in to enforce the regulations. Given that the Railroad Commission isn't enforcing any monitoring or cleanup, the EPA must step in to enforce monitoring and cleanup.

LonghornDave
08-19-2011, 05:08 PM
No. I didn't read the cite. I just pulled concentrations, sampling depths, and the orders out of my ass.[/sarcasm]

I think it's pretty clear that I read the references.

I don't think it's clear you read them at all. If you had, I wouldn't expect you to so clearly misrepresent them. You stated the following.

The EPA hasn't told Range Production to shut down a single well, they told them to see if they were causing the contamination. This is the data collection phase I was discussing above.

You have tried to characterize this as a case of the RRC not taking action and so the EPA is simply ordering precautionary measures to be taken (provide alternative sources of water, explosive monitoring meters, checking other wells) while the EPA tries to figure out what the cause is. That's an outright mischaracterization. The EPA has stated outright that Range caused (or contributed to) the methane in the water. This was in the Emergency Order. There is no "see if they were causing the contamination" aspect to the order. They already decided. Then, in the deposition the EPA representative states he could not be certain of Range's role in the contamination. Is that not a step back from the original EPA claim?

The fines the EPA wants to issue aren't related to the pollution, they're for not sampling and planning as required in the December Order. Range isn't contending that they have done the planning, sampling, or reporting; they're contending that having to do that monitoring and pollution prevention is unreasonable.

That's another mischaracterization. I understand that the fine is for failing to follow the Emergency Order and not actually any pollution. However, Range is contending that they have been denied due process.


The EPA has presented a considerable amount of evidence that the well is contaminated and that the contamination is consistent with the contamination likely to come from the gas wells. The order would require that Range collect more data. That's pretty routine. Landfills are required to place monitoring wells around the site to monitor for offsite gas migration. Sites with leaking underground storage tanks are required to install monitoring wells. If they don't monitor, they face fines. Operations that have a significant risk of polluting must demonstrate that they're not polluting. It's not unreasonable to categorize natural gas production as having a significant risk for polluting, especially given the EPA's data from the drinking water wells.

If the situation does not fit an emergency situation, then they should have continued investigating as the RRC was doing.

At the very worst, the EPA jumped the small step of going from finding a likely source of contamination to knowing the source of contamination, but that's why Ridge should monitor. At the very worst, they've required a company that makes millions of dollars per year to conduct tens of thousands of dollars of monitoring after evidence has been presented that they are a likely source of groundwater contamination.

They have jumped the gun in issuing an emergency order when no emergency existed, stated unequivocally that a company was guilty of something in that emergency order and in the media, when deposed backed away from that saying they don't yet know what role the company had, and ultimately a good possibility exists that the source of the contamination isn't the company. That is a case of overreaching. In the end, we may find out that Range is responsible for the contamination. However, it is certainly not likely at this point considering the RRC has stated that Range had nothing to do with the contamination. Regardless, the EPA has significantly erred in their actions.




Think about this scenario. It's not an uncommon one.
A gas station is known to have had a leaky underground storage tank, so it has monitoring wells installed. They're sampled periodicity and typically show only gas-related contaminants. After a period of a couple years, they start to have consistent detection of perc (a dry cleaning chemical) in the up-gradient well. The local regulator (typically a county or water board level regulator here in California, but it varies by state) is likely to open an investigation of the dry cleaner up the water table, as that's the likely source. If they don't enforce the regulations to keep pollution like perc out of the groundwater, the EPA will step in to enforce the regulations. Given that the Railroad Commission isn't enforcing any monitoring or cleanup, the EPA must step in to enforce monitoring and cleanup.

You have no evidence that the RRC was not enforcing regulations. Therefore, the scenario is not a metaphor for this case.

Whack-a-Mole
08-19-2011, 05:11 PM
I never made that claim. I made the claim that here is one specific example of the EPA overreaching. Other people in this thread may think the EPA is putting companies out of business, but I don't. I think they are seeking to make headlines and quick to jump the gun without completing the work. They may be putting companies out of business, but I don't know anything about that.

Ah...I see the problem. You quoted me when responding to a question. The quote from me was in response to JoelUpchurch who said:

The EPA has shown a tendency to regulate situations where the health risks are unproven and the result is to destroy the business they try to regulate.

So you did not say it but were answering the question I asked of him where he said that. It had been a few days so I forgot who I asked that of and assumed it was you since you were answering.

Sorry about that.

LonghornDave
08-19-2011, 05:19 PM
Ah...I see the problem. You quoted me when responding to a question. The quote from me was in response to JoelUpchurch who said:



So you did not say it but were answering the question I asked of him where he said that. It had been a few days so I forgot who I asked that of and assumed it was you since you were answering.

Sorry about that.

Sorry, I was just quoting everyone asking for examples of overreaching. I actually did not originally quote you; I added you on edit thinking you were asking for the same type of example. I am the one at fault.

Whack-a-Mole
08-19-2011, 05:26 PM
This court order specifically states the following.
Originally Posted by Court Order
the Fifth Circuit is presently considering whether the Emergency Order was issued arbitrarily or capriciously


It would seem to me this is fine. Government agency issues an order for you to follow. You think it is unfair so you go to court and protest.

In the interim you follow the order or you get fined.

If the FAA grounded the 757's mentioned hypothetically above do Boeing and United get to cry they were denied due process? That it is unfair to ground them till the FAA can prove a design flaw? That they should not be fined for continuing to fly the planes in the meantime?

That would be disastrous to regulatory agencies.


That's another mischaracterization. I understand that the fine is for failing to follow the Emergency Order and not actually any pollution. However, Range is contending that they have been denied due process.


See above.

Certainly Boeing and United could go to court and argue the order is without merit. Till the court settles it though they need to follow the order or get fined (or worse).

I think the courts should give very wide latitude to the regulatory agencies here. The court does not have the expertise and experience the agencies do. For a court to start second guessing them would be a mess. Unless the plaintiffs can show actual malice or extreme negligence or some other outside reason to make the court think the order was merely punitive then the court should defer to the regulatory agency.

foolsguinea
08-19-2011, 05:44 PM
Then this means WAR!Please.

No, really, please. I'll be your fifth column.

HookerChemical
08-19-2011, 08:15 PM
You have tried to characterize this as a case of the RRC not taking action and so the EPA is simply ordering precautionary measures to be taken (provide alternative sources of water, explosive monitoring meters, checking other wells) while the EPA tries to figure out what the cause is. That's an outright mischaracterization. The EPA has stated outright that Range caused (or contributed to) the methane in the water. This was in the Emergency Order. There is no "see if they were causing the contamination" aspect to the order. They already decided. Then, in the deposition the EPA representative states he could not be certain of Range's role in the contamination. Is that not a step back from the original EPA claim?

The step back is that they didn't investigate other potential sources of contamination. There is still a significant amount of evidence that implies the RR is the source of the contamination, and the only other source of contamination implicated is the other rock formation. That doesn't account for the benzene contamination.

This still doesn't imply that this is an EPA overreach. They have contaminated groundwater. They've gone to a likely source and required that they monitor for offsite contamination. The EPA should have identified Range as a likely source of the contamination rather than the source of contamination, but the monitoring would still be reasonable.

Furthermore, this is what you said:

This is an issue of due process. Can the EPA fine a company without even having to prove the company did anything wrong or without even allowing the company to defend itself?

They're being fined because they stated they weren't going to obey the order. They didn't file their due process claim until a month and a half later. The answer to your question is still "yes." If the EPA finds a river has been polluted with chemicals downstream of a chemical plant, they can fine the plant for violating regulations. The company then gets an opportunity in court to fight the fine if they think they were operating within the regulations.

That's another mischaracterization. I understand that the fine is for failing to follow the Emergency Order and not actually any pollution. However, Range is contending that they have been denied due process.

The claim is that Range was denied due process, meaning they didn't have the opportunity to challenge the order. The legal aspects are too out in the reeds for me to know who's in the right. Even if Range wins the case, a minor procedural misstep by the EPA is a huge difference from shutting down entire industries like they were accused of upthread.

If the situation does not fit an emergency situation, then they should have continued investigating as the RRC was doing.

Are you characterizing this as an EPA overreach because it was an emergency order and the required timeline they required of Range? Is the overreach that the EPA required that Range assess the potential that their operation could lead to groundwater contamination?

They have jumped the gun in issuing an emergency order when no emergency existed, stated unequivocally that a company was guilty of something in that emergency order and in the media, when deposed backed away from that saying they don't yet know what role the company had, and ultimately a good possibility exists that the source of the contamination isn't the company. That is a case of overreaching. In the end, we may find out that Range is responsible for the contamination. However, it is certainly not likely at this point considering the RRC has stated that Range had nothing to do with the contamination. Regardless, the EPA has significantly erred in their actions.

You have no evidence that the RRC was not enforcing regulations. Therefore, the scenario is not a metaphor for this case.

I'm not sure how much of a backtrack the EPA did during the deposition. There are two statements that the judge focuses in on. First there's the statement that they didn't investigate other sources. The only alternative source listed in the documents is the other rock formation, which doesn't explain the benzene and other VOC contamination. Ridge themselves dismiss other wells as unlikely. Likewise, the fact that the EPA representative indicated that he can't be certain the contamination came from Range isn't alarming. You can never be certain of much when it comes to underground contamination, but you can make an educated guess and support it with data.

The RCC clearing Range of the pollution is based on bad data. I can tell you that the soil gas data cited by the RCC is pure junk based on the sampling depth. They're looking for natural gas contamination of groundwater a hundred feet below the ground surface by sampling 1-3 feet from the surface. Sampling at that depth for deep contamination is useless. Sampling that shallow for anything is almost useless. That demonstrates to me that either the sampling was poorly designed or designed to deliberately not find contamination. In either case, it puts a cloud of doubt over the other results. There's not enough evidence in the other sampling information to know if it's well designed or not, but there are EPA samples that show contamination in the wells.

The RCC is also relying on ambient air samples, which is even more ridiculous that the extremely shallow soil gas. Methane from underground doesn't pose much fire hazard in open air where it can quickly disperse to non-detectable levels. The risk is in enclosed areas such as basements. That's where the sampling should have been done.

The willingness of the RCC to accept these samples shows me that either they aren't qualified to interpret the data (very likely, since they probably don't get much) or they didn't care that the data were useless.

Whack-a-Mole
08-20-2011, 05:43 PM
The willingness of the RCC to accept these samples shows me that either they aren't qualified to interpret the data (very likely, since they probably don't get much) or they didn't care that the data were useless.

Or they are actually a corrupt agency as I noted in post #100:

It is also worth mentioning that the RRC has been accused of "corruption and ignoring public safety (http://www.khou.com/news/local/Texas-Railorad-Commission-accused--111707169.html)". Not by some lefty group but rather by a state commission formed to look into it. "Every 12 years, the Sunset Advisory Commission reviews all the state agencies throughout Texas. It has been highly critical of the Texas Railroad Commission." (from same linked story)

Machine Elf
08-22-2011, 01:05 PM
1. With rare earth production air pollution isn't the problem.

Fair enough. May I assume we're talking about water pollution then?

2. Do you think that the Chinese are dumping pollution into a different planet's atmosphere? Or a different ocean? Chinese pollution is a global problem.

I think they're dumping it into their own rivers, estuaries and bays. To cite the reverse situation, I doubt our complete besoiling of the Cuyahoga River (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuyahoga_river#Environmental_concerns) had any impact on the Chinese environment.

Similarly, air pollution in China gets diluted long before it reaches the US; unless they elect to resume vigorous above-ground nuclear testing, I expect air pollution in China will be a problem that demands their own attention long before we suffer from it.

3. Is it okay if we export the pollution? Is it okay to kill foreigners to sustain our lifestyle? If the result of the pollution regulation is to export the pollution, then you are actually making the problem worse, because you are sending it someplace where there are no controls at all.

Earlier you were complaining because the EPA implemented rules that made RE production unprofitable in the US. Now you're complaining because the rules are too lax in other countries? :dubious:

The mission of the US EPA is to protect the environment here in the US, not the whole world. If China wants looser regs in their country, well, that's up to them.

gonzomax
08-22-2011, 01:29 PM
Now the justice department is looking into the gulf oil spill. Now?
It was well known Exxon lied about the amount of the spill to lower their liabilities. They lied about everything else too. So now the government and the EPA are going to act?

jasg
08-24-2011, 12:46 PM
Best user name/ post combination in the threadLove it!

JoelUpchurch
08-24-2011, 01:21 PM
Earlier you were complaining because the EPA implemented rules that made RE production unprofitable in the US. Now you're complaining because the rules are too lax in other countries? :dubious:

The mission of the US EPA is to protect the environment here in the US, not the whole world. If China wants looser regs in their country, well, that's up to them.

If you recall, my original statement was that the EPA shouldn't be allowed to implement NEW regulations. When asked for examples economic impacts of EPA regulations, I have to reference the past impacts.

You belief that the impacts of pollution stop at the U.S. border is frankly bizzare. It is almost like someone insisting the leak is at the other end of the boat.

Una Persson
08-24-2011, 05:47 PM
Obviously the makers have an agenda too and they want to protect their film. So, who to believe? Frankly I am not sure I would like someone like Una Persson to give an assessment. Barring that at least the Gasland rebuttal is, in fact, well cited and thorough.
Why are you dragging me into this discussion with your back-handed personal insult?

I'd love to see your detailed, logical reason[s] why you think my assessment would be so unwanted. So...let's see it.

John Bredin
08-26-2011, 04:39 PM
Why are you dragging me into this discussion with your back-handed personal insult?

I'd love to see your detailed, logical reason[s] why you think my assessment would be so unwanted. So...let's see it.

Is it possible there's a missing comma or semi-colon between the "I am not sure" and the "I would like someone..."in Whack-A Mole's post?! In other words, could it be that Whack-a-Mole is calling on you as a resource rather than calling you out? :D

Whack-a-Mole
08-26-2011, 05:00 PM
Is it possible there's a missing comma or semi-colon between the "I am not sure" and the "I would like someone..."in Whack-A Mole's post?! In other words, could it be that Whack-a-Mole is calling on you as a resource rather than calling you out? :D

^^This.

My bad.

I was calling on you as an valuable source of information on such topics.

I meant to write:

"Frankly I am not sure so I would like someone like Una Persson to give an assessment."

Sorry about that.

Una Persson
08-26-2011, 07:38 PM
^^This.

My bad.

I was calling on you as an valuable source of information on such topics.

I meant to write:

"Frankly I am not sure so I would like someone like Una Persson to give an assessment."

Sorry about that.
Well.

Um.

Alright then! :)

I'm a little busy working on some things for Cecil, unfortunately, so I can't really type up a good analysis right now. However, I see that someone has written Cecil about this topic too. Maybe I can convince Cecil to cover it in a not to distant column.

user_hostile
08-26-2011, 11:31 PM
^^This.

My bad.

I was calling on you as an valuable source of information on such topics.

I meant to write:

"Frankly I am not sure so I would like someone like Una Persson to give an assessment."

Sorry about that.

You should be--Una Persson is the sole source supplier for Santa Claus's lumps of coal.

If you wake up Xmas morning breathing coal dust...well, you can't say we didn't warn you. :D

Una Persson
08-27-2011, 08:17 AM
Nope, no dust. All the lumps of coal I give out as gifts to people, online and IRL, I coat with clear lacquer. It eliminates some of the very fine details you can sometimes see in the coal (such as sulfate inclusions), but at least it keeps it all together.

LonghornDave
04-02-2012, 03:00 PM
I thought I would update the Range Resources case that I brought up and was spoken about quite a bit in this thread.

EPA Backpedals on Fracking Contamination (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303404704577313741463447670.html)

The Environmental Protection Agency has dropped its claim that an energy company contaminated drinking water in Texas, the third time in recent months that the agency has backtracked on high-profile local allegations linking natural-gas drilling and water pollution.

On Friday, the agency told a federal judge it withdrew an administrative order that alleged Range Resources Corp. had polluted water wells in a rural Texas county west of Fort Worth. Under an agreement filed in U.S. court in Dallas, the EPA will also drop the lawsuit it filed in January 2011 against Range, and Range will end its appeal of the administrative order.

Here's what the State of Texas regulatory agency (Railroad Commission of Texas) had to say.

Railroad Commissioners: “EPA’s Vacate Order in Range Case Confirms Railroad Commission Findings Based on Scientific Evidence” (http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/pressreleases/2012/033012.php)

Commissioner David Porter said, “Today the EPA finally made a decision based on science and fact versus playing politics with the Texas economy. The EPA’s withdrawal of the emergency order against Range Resources upholds the Railroad Commission Final Order that I signed concluding that Range is not responsible for any water contamination in Parker County. Al Armanderiz and the EPA’s Region Six office are guilty of fear mongering, gross negligence and severe mishandling of this case. I hope to see drastic changes made in the way the regional office conducts business in the future – starting with the termination of Al Armanderiz.”

septimus
04-04-2012, 01:25 PM
You know, you can oppose the EPA while still supporting environmental protection. Canada doesn't have an EPA. In fact, only the U.S. does.

We know you don't use words the way the rest of us do. Does an "Environmental Protection Agency" in a non-English speaking country count, if that EPA calls itself "Environmental Protection Agency" on its English website?

I suppose you won't count the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (http://www.epa.gov.tw/en/) (it's an Administration, not an Agency), but what about the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (https://secure.mim.dk/mst/simi/default.asp?lanId=2) ?

(These two examples are not intended as exhaustive, just the ones that pop up with a minute of Googling.)

The whole point was to suggest that the EPA is not the only environmental regulatory body around

The "whole point" of "only the U.S. has an EPA" was "the U.S.'s is not the only EPA" ?
OK. Got it ... I guess.

And do these left-wing regulations cost more than a trillion dollars? If not, it's just "chump change" or a "rounding error."

Whatever.

Bryan Ekers
04-04-2012, 04:38 PM
Here's what the State of Texas regulatory agency (Railroad Commission of Texas) had to say.

Uh-huh... and what did the EPA itself have to say?


Besides, fracking is a relatively new process and there will be problems with establishing its effects and how to mitigate those effects. As part of a larger argument that the EPA should be abolished or diminished, it's big ol' heaping bucket of fail.

LonghornDave
04-16-2012, 04:28 PM
Uh-huh... and what did the EPA itself have to say?

Uh, they dropped the case, so I think their actions tell us more than anything they could possibly say.

Besides, fracking is a relatively new process and there will be problems with establishing its effects and how to mitigate those effects.

Fracking is not a new process. Anyone who thinks so is probably not very well informed on the topic.