I don't know a single manufacturer who's against more stringent regulation (except the energy industry per se). It's the wild patchwork of them which is the headache, because so many redundant products have to be tailored to each individual geographic case. But when it comes to
lightbulbs there's a glaring contradiction. Nobody has tested what the long
term effects on human health of these damn things is. Yeah, the neo bulbs are horrible for display, but they also cause a lot of eyestrain. I can't
stand them; but what are they going to do to kids over the decades. Nobody knows. So here's an instance where maybe more regulation should intercede, namely health or safety studies. Same kind of thing like
back when mfg pulled methylene chloride from paint strippers as a suspected carcinogen and substituted a known carcinogen for awhile.
I asked an Air Resources Board official about an analogous solvent issue,
involving making a product smog compliant by removing a naptha and
substituting benzene and toluene: he simply replied, We don't give a damn about caner - that's the EPA's responsibility - we just care about
smog. So yeah, there a lots of anecdotes and chuckholes along the way,
but over the long haul a vast amount of progress has been made too.
But some of the folks in the EPA I've known very well personally certainly
weren't anything like Gestapo, and their work was often very dangerous.
Illegal chemical are imported just like narcotics, and just from the casual
exposure to some of these things during field investigations, these inspectors tend to die young. We have a saying around here in this University town: There are three careers where people die at 52: crop dusters, industrial painters, and research chemists. I'd add a fourth - EPA
Actually this research chemist and most of his associates seem to be doing better than average. Maybe it is something homeopathic! :D :D
Our average age is getting to be pretty far up there and the average problem is not chemistry related.
So, lets remove that one from your list.
Bill, the key here as has been mentioned over and over is "due process". The EPA (like many government agencies) has been granted authority that goes beyond the limitations of government as outlined in our Constitution.
We have a rigid standard of policies and procedures that must be followed in organized society. Those standards and policies are clearly outlined in the Constitution. They must be equally applied to every level of government, and to every agency, no matter the stated purpose. The federal government under the flag of "environmentalism" does not automatically qualify for special privileges because they are doing good things.
Nobody is stating that people should be allowed to get away with things that are unlawful. The ONLY THING I AM ARGUING is the importance of due process.
I don't know why you need to resort to hyperbole and political insults. I am just stating facts.
None the less I will take the opportunity to draw some comparisons with an agency I am more familiar with. Take for example the ATF as you mentioned. The ATF has the absolute authority to determine if a newly manufactured firearm meets the "standards" for what is considered a "sporting firearm" for public sale. But these "standards" are not released so manufactures have no way to know what does, and does not, meet the "standard". They must submit designs (which often are the result of costly R&D) to the ATF for individual review. The ATF will reply with a letter stating whether or not their design has been approved or not approved. They do NOT have to (and never do) disclose why a particular firearm may be disqualified, and it is not uncommon for extremely similar designs from different manufacturers to be judged differently. So is that due process? Have the manufacturers been treated fairly? Do they have the ability to contest the decision? No, no, and no. In that regard, are they operating outside of the Constitution? Absolutely. And such is the problem with federal agencies having unmitigated power and lack of judicial oversight.
Likewise, say you are half way through the construction process of a new office plaza. You have all the proper permits from the township, zoning boards, and state DEP. Along comes the EPA and decides that land that was surveyed and approved by the state DEP is actually wetlands and because it's within, I don't know, say 200 feet from the parking lot, you are in violation of EPA regulations (NOT law, law can only be decided by Legislature). They can now indefinitely shut down your operation costing you, and your customer, untold sums of money.
That is not some "rich landowner" who is greedy, and it it certainly NOT due process.
Anyway ... the EPA folks I work with at the moment are 98% invovled in
education, just helping people work safer, understand the rules, and yes,
smirking right along with them over some of the sillier stipulations. They do give out field advice and formal warnings; but there's been only one real fine given out in this area in the last two years and it was a flagrant violation. These laws were put into effect decades ago when George Bush
senior's dog got lead posioning at Camp David and he started worring about his kids and grandkids too. The grace period volutary guidelines have been out there a long long time, so nothing arbitrary in this instance.
And yeah, we all know about a tiny handful of rogue EPA agents involved
with the mob and monopolizing hazmat handling, but that's mostly big govt contract work with big dollars involved. No different from the small
percent of FBI agents in cahoots with local heroin kingpins. But if you're
one of those ardent constitutional rights proponents over private property
rights etc, you'd probably get along well with a family member of mine who is probably the most famous (or infamous) appellate lawyer in the
country on this subject at this moment. We love him, but... like many families we have members on both extremes... and when those holiday
"discussions" start heating up, well, I grab the backpack with the 8X10
and head out for a few hours.
Lets discuss the searches of 85 year old ladies' colostomy bags, huh? That might be a fun discussion of due process!
Good for yuks, right? Talk about undue search (and seizure?). Did anyone keep the contents of the bag? Hah!
Also Bill, the Secret Service has the authority to confiscate counterfeit money and printing equipment because the Constitution specifically enumerates the Legislative branch the authority "To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;" Which, interestingly enough, is still questionable. The Secret Service for many years fell under the Treasury, which I believe is under the Executive Branch, not Legislative. It is now under DOHS, which is also Executive. But I will not claim to be an absolute expert in this area.
BTW, they still have to follow the procedures of due process to obtain a warrant, confiscate your equipment and counterfeit money, and you are still entitled to a fair trial.
I don't know about the colostomy bag thing... might be more appropriately discussed under an alternative film developer thread.... But a lot of unfortunate stereotypes here and confusing of different agencies. It can
get pretty complicated. Again, within walking distance of my office are
certain Bay wetlands which are being restored, but between state, federal, and the merging city interests, there are actually twelve different
agencies in charge. There's a lot of one-upmanship, conflicting priorities,
and cases of one agency suing another. A backpacking pal of mine is the
engineer in charge, and he figures this will be tied up in the courts for at
least twelve years. ... Ironically, these are all pro-enviro agencies like park
districts, Coastal Commission, etc, but each with their own definition of what is best. Even the level of the tide could hypothetically determine who
is in charge at a given hour. But stuff gets done anyway and the jogging
trails etc are getting built. On the other hand, you've got folks like my
family member going all the way to the Supreme Court defending the rights of private property, sometimes on behalf of persons who have already been dead for twenty years. In Calif he's classified as a fanatical
right-winger. In Texas he's viewed as a meddling California liberal. The
cases themselves tend to be incredibly convoluted. He just won a massive
case here against the Coastal Commission which has been brewing for a
long time. Then he lost one in New York when someone put up a fence
around their porch to prevent their child from getting bit by rattlesnakes,
and were convicted of interfering with a wildlife (rattlesnake) migration
route. As we all know, law and common sense are not always equal.
Just responding to some of the earlier posts, I myself live in California, and I must say, a lot of those things mentioned as illegal are still REALLY common where I am, such as burning leaves and other yard waste, and all sorts of powerful, toxic, and environmentally hazardous chemical share still sold.
Although, to burn leaves and such, you need to get a permit from the fire department, which is really easy, but I live in an area with a high fire danger, so if you aren't registered as having the permit, they can see the smoke and it will be treated as a forest fire, and you will be heavily fined if it wasn't.
Just my two cents.
I have lived in California all my life, I'm 68 years old. I can remember as a child in Los Angeles in the early 1950's not being able to see the mountains on unbelievably smoggy days. From historical accounts (which I can't pinpoint exactly) the Indians who lived in the basin described the smoke to the Spaniards who came into the region in the 18th century. It is a well documented problem.
Ron is right, the "ecological" legislation to protect us from ourselves has had a detrimental effect on jobs. You need so many permits to open a business that many have thrown up their hands and said they are leaving, or aren't going to expand in California. The parent company of Carl's Jr. has given up on expanding anymore in the state. It takes nearly a year to get all the permits to open up one restaurant. Here in San Diego the Eco-Nazis are holding Fourth of July Fireworks hostage because they want an ecological survey done before and after the event. It has been proven that there are no detrimental effects from the fireworks.
Jesus had it right when He said that they will strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. I'm not against protecting the environment, I'm just against the idiocy of this mish-mash alphabet soup of needless governmental regulations which do nothing but destroy jobs and take away our freedoms.
One more thing: Don't light up a smoke on the beach, you will be cited. (Sig heil!)