Friday, May 20, 2005

Mercury in the public interest:: National Review

To justify these infinitesimal reductions, activists and regulators have built a house of cards — for which taxpayers will pay billions of dollars. The resulting higher utility rates and attendant human costs will fall disproportionately on the elderly, poor, minorities and children.

EPA has a history of failing to make decisions based on science and on weighing costs and benefits. As Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer describes in Breaking the Vicious Circle, similarly expensive, non-cost-effective regulations were imposed when the EPA banned asbestos pipe, shingles, coating, and paper, which the most optimistic estimates suggested would prevent seven or eight premature deaths over 13 years — at a cost of approximately a quarter of a billion dollars. Breyer observes that the EPA's action is damaging in two ways: by diverting valuable resources from other, more effective public healthcare measures; and by removing asbestos from existing structures in ways that make fibers airborne and pose even greater risks to human health.

It has been said that we get the government we deserve. Therefore, we must demand that regulatory decisions are based on sound science and common sense, not on politics and unfounded fears. Only then will public policy serve the public interest.


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