Originally posted by normbenign
"it takes a disinterested government agency to do that"
Is there, or has there ever been such a thing? If government has life or death power over private sector business, you know that business interests will seek protection and assistance via the government.
How effective has government regulation been, compared to self regulation, and the obvious bal people were pretty careful about ingesting plants or animals that were "new" to them.
too simplistic a view by far. Over 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released by industry into the nation's environment each year, including 72 million pounds of recognized carcinogens.
I've spent 20+ years as a government regulatory enforcement lawyer.
My experience is that disinterestedness is both possible and historically the case in many areas, especially where I am.
We don't fall for every middle-class enthusiasm, nor over react, with some exceptions. We have scientists who, when left free from interference by such interests as the Dept of Defense, have the expertise and the experience to help our Agency make prudent, reasonable risk management judgments.
There are always exceptions to this and no one's perfect.
But public health is our main concern and we sincerely are dedicated towards its protection.
voluntary efforts are fine, as far as they go. without a vigorous enforcement program, however, regs such as EPA regs are useless.
I do think that EPA regs are overly complex, overly prescriptive, and too difficult to comply with in many respects.
On the whole, however, we're better off now than before our environmental laws and regs were passed and implemented through promulgated rules.
I can measure effectiveness by weighing the tons of pollution that are not discharged or emitted, the tons of poisoned soil removed, the number of dollars we force violators to spend at the site of violation to go beyond mere compliance.
You have to take press reports and panics over minute amounts of unstudied substances, as well as rumors and fashions about various chemicals with a large cellar of salt.
It is a complex subject and there is not quick, easy, simple, and dumb answer to it.
You can't be successful at being responsible for yourself in our economy today using our food supply and breathing our air and drinking our water.
You need expert help to be able to avoid that which you cannot detect, cannot see on the label, cannot taste or smell, etc.
Even things long in our use can become contaminated and dangerous.
Takes years of work and study beyond merely getting a license to practice law to understand and work on environmental enforcement matters.
If you think you know about it enough to make sweeping generalizations, I'd be happy if you 'd tell me all about, say, ammonium perchlorate contaminating our water supplies, or about Trichloroethylene,