The 112th Congress should
- take back the regulatory authority it has
delegated to the Environmental Protection Agency;
- transfer responsibility for the safety of
chemicals to industry;
- address the question, What is an acceptable
level of risk?
- reexamine the acceptable risk level it set
in the Food Quality Protection Act; and
- strip the EPA of its research functions.
Everybody wants clean air and water. Everybody. For one politician to
accuse another politician of "not caring about the
environment" or even wanting polluted air and water
is just ridiculous. Everybody wants clean air and water. Everybody.
But as the great philosopher Mick Jagger put it, "You can't
always get what you want." At least not at zero price.
Through boycotts and tort
litigation, consumers may pressure a corporation to remove 99% of the
pollutants it discharges into the environment. The cost of removing the
remaining 1% may be many times greater than the cost of removing the
first 99%. Is the cost worth the risk? The Free Market, hearing the
input of all consumers, based on the collective knowledge of hundreds of
millions of Americans, is better equipped than Congress or its
bureaucracies to decide on the value of cleaning up the remaining 1%.
For more information, see Price V. Fishback's review of CALCULATING
RISKS: The Spatial and Political Dimensions of Hazardous-Waste Policy,
by James T. Hamilton and W. Kip Viscusi (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Winter
Also see CUTTING
GREEN TAPE: Toxic Pollutants, Environmental Regulation and the Law,
edited by Richard Stroup and Roger Meiners, foreword by W. Kip Viscusi
(The Independent Institute/ Transaction Publishers, 2000).
TORTS BY GOVERNMENT by Bruce Benson, research fellow at The
here for a related speech to the California Mining Association by
Alex Tabarrok, research director at The Independent Institute.
next: Global Warming