Amongst the loud bickering about the recent budget cuts to the EPA, where the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 cut the EPA budget by a paltry 16% there has hardly been any news acknowledging exactly how wastefully a large chunk of that money had been allocated previously.
by Eric Stevenson
Prior to the cuts, a majority of the $1.6 billion that was cut from the budget was needlessly allocated to several climate change programs. Of course, the fact that programs affecting climate change and global warming have been cut has allowed certain media outlets to skew their coverage so that it appears that the EPA budget issue is easily divisible- those who are for global warming squaring off against those who are against. However this straightforward view of pro vs. anti-global warming is seriously skewed; not only does it not take into account that no one is truthfully pro-global warming, even skeptics are only really arguing that they would rather see more scientific data before rushing into any headlong actions, but also the argument over whether the government should be involved in mandating climate change initiatives in a free democratic society.
Of course, the strident answer to that question ought to be a firm no. It is not the government’s place to impose its ideological beliefs upon its citizens. Furthermore the EPA has not had a very strong history of effectively dictating environmental value through regulation, as it has often attempted to do with climate change. Even the strict asbestos regulations, one of the EPA’s shining examples of its ability to mandate change for health and safety purposes, were more effectively influenced by the free market than by laws and regulations upheld by the EPA. For example, in the years after asbestos was discovered to cause mesothelioma cancer it took the EPA several years before it was finally able to even pass legislation regulating its use and even though regulations began in the late 1970’s asbestos was still fairly common in houses until the mid- to late 1980’s. But if it wasn’t the EPA, then happened in the mid-to-late 1980’s that actually significantly decreased the use of asbestos? To begin with, a populace with much more knowledge of the dangers of asbestos and low mesothelioma life expectancy began purchasing products, and secondly the market for asbestos insulation was taken over by the safer and more affordable carbon aerogels seriously depriving asbestos manufactures of one of their largest deposts.
By the same token, it’s unlikely that any of the EPA money even allocated towards climate change programs would seriously have affected the United States consumer’s usage of fossil fuels and pollutants in the coming years, and a huge portion of that $1.6 billion dollars would have gone to waste. Instead it will be the free market coming up with true innovations that run cleaner and are more affordable that will truly protect us from climate change, as those complaining about the EPA budget cuts claim that the EPA did.
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Pierre Dowing, on 5/03/2011 at 1:04pm, said:
Speaking of the EPA, I actually came across an article today that I think you may or may not have seen already, but it sheds a pretty good light on the current situation with the EPA and the “Haze Plan” that some seem to be pushing. Either way, it just came out in the Albuquerque Journal and is ranked as one of the top current articles regarding the EPA, so I thought I’d share it with you nonetheless. If you’re up for a glance, here’s a link http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=93P42TS46AM&preview=article&linkid=a2c15c0c-b9ae-4983-afac-9715fc90ded9&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d
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