Out of Control?

by John Prendergast, Managing Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 3, Pg. 48-51

Document Type: Feature article


Once heroes in a popular battle against villainous despoilers of Mother Earth, to a growing chorus of observers environmental groups, EPA and other regulatory agencies have begun to look more like the problem than the solution: overreaching, arrogant bureaucrats focused on crafting increasingly arcane regulations rather than actually improving the environment; obstacles to growth in a time of economic stagnation; bit, careless spenders when money everywhere is tight; and proponents of rigid, command-and-control management strategies when flexibility and consensus building are the order of the day. The current system of environmental regulation is being attacked on three major fronts-the so-called unholy trinity: 1. Property rights advocates claim that restrictions on land use are takings under the Constitution, which require compensation for owners. 2. States and municipalities want to see an end to unfunded mandates. 3. There is broad support for more use of cost/benefit analyses and risk assessment in setting priorities for dealing with environmental problems and formulating regulatory requirements.

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