Forty years ago, America had serious environmental problems. Rivers were polluted and smog filled cities. That changed with common sense regulations that made our environment progressively cleaner, and today America is one of the cleanest countries in the world. But Rich Trzupek's Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA Is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books, 2011) demonstrates that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not satisfied with these spectacular results; it has no conception of "clean enough."
Instead, the EPA continues to make its regulations stricter in every area. Since a toxin is a toxin, no matter how small, the question of dose is entirely irrelevant. The question of cost is even less relevant to the agency. EPA promulgates regulations based not on what levels of pollution should be, but on what they can be.
Trzupek presents stories of those affected by senseless regulations, making clear that new regulations have little to do with pollution-they are mostly about filing the correct form at the proper time.
The EPA, according to Trzupek, ought to spend most of its time and energy on big operations with the biggest potential for pollution-thus eliminating most pollutants but not over-regulating small and medium businesses. The author also suggests regulating-and punishing-based on harm done to the environment, rather than on violations of bureaucratic protocol. Finally, Trzupek says that companies ought to be able to do all of their environmental reporting on a single form. The author concludes that these steps would restore sanity to the EPA, while keeping America one of the cleanest countries on the planet.