Regulators Gone Wild:
How the EPA is Ruining American Industry
By Rich Trzupek
Encounter Books, $23.95, 160 pp.
During the 2008 campaign, I was at a John McCain rally where he dampened the enthusiasm of a crowd of cheering Republicans by trying to defend his poll-tested global warming position thusly: “So maybe man isn’t causing global warming. Here’s how I look at it. Even if they are wrong, we invent new technologies and our kids inherit a cleaner environment — so what’s the harm in that?”
That’s probably the most common reaction from Americans when they hear conservative arguments about the Environmental Protection Agency’s zealous strictures on American industry: So the rules make it a little more expensive for big business? Big deal. I don’t want to be harmed by pollution.
In his lively new book, Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry, environmental consultant Rich Trzupek tells us exactly what the harm is by ripping off the cover of the nice-sounding rhetoric and exposing the bureaucrats terrorizing American job creators for the boobs they are.
In essence, Trzupek reveals that federal environmental regulations no longer focus on preventing harm to people. He explains the regulatory process has become more important than the results, eco-bureaucrats look on industry as the enemy of human health, fear has replaced science in the policy-making arena and — perhaps most importantly — the punishments handed out by regulators are almost always wildly out of proportion to the seriousness of the “crimes.”
“We live longer than ever,” Trzupek writes. “We pollute less than ever. Need anyone say more?”
Maybe not, but nobody is saying it. Politicians don’t. Schoolteachers scaring kids into believing that if they don’t recycle the world will someday look like the landscape in Wall-E surely don’t. Environmentalists who should be crowing about their past clean-up successes definitely don’t. As Trzupek points out, the professional greens “depend on the unlikely specter of impending doom for their financial health.”
And the dominant picture of impending doom is global warming — or “climate change” as it’s become known after the last few record-setting cold winters. It’s no longer good enough to remove pollution in amounts that affect humans from the atmosphere; every molecule of carbon that enters the atmosphere is considered a threat to destroy the habitability of Spaceship Earth.
Unlike most authors of similar books, Trzupek is not an economist, but a scientist (chemist) who has spent his career working for sensible environmental regulations. He is not one of the usual libertarian suspects who contends that purely market solutions exist for keeping pollution levels low. He even argues that the Clean Air Act of 1970 was beneficial and successful (though I suspect the horror stories in Regulators Gone Wild could give ammo to conservatives who argued against it at the time since their slippery slope fears came true.)
But while the Clean Air Act of 1970, whatever its flaws, sought to regulate harmful toxins as a public health matter, Trzupek writes, “Instead of considering what we should do, legislators [in 1990] decided to expand their vision to what we could do.”
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