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 Message Boards » » The EPA is the most effective Fed. Agency Page [1]  
TerdFerguson
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Of the last 30-40 years. No other Agency has amassed such tangible benefits for the American people, billions per year in saved health costs alone. True science- and economic-based decision making that has improved our everyday environment by light years from where it was and in some cases has made us a world leader in balancing the environment and business.

OMB accounts for cost benefit of several federal agencies and finds the EPA with the highest benefits.
https://www.naesb.org//pdf4/2011_office_of_mgmnt_budget.pdf

Of course, this effectiveness puts the EPA squarely in the eye of the GOP "small government" shit storm. Keep track of, and debunk the building GOP attacks ITT.

2/23/2017 8:07:39 AM

aaronburro
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Cool thread, bro.

2/23/2017 8:40:20 AM

bbehe
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Oh, I look forward to the rebuttal from the guy who thinks that banning kiddie porn is a waste of government resources.

2/23/2017 8:41:40 AM

aaronburro
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I look forward to the discussion from the guy who tried to argue that bans on selling cigarettes to kids had nothing to do with the rate of kids smoking.

Of course, the irony of him bringing up an economic argument (that he opposed solely on an emotional basis) from another thread in this thread, where the OP is extolling the virtues of economics-based decision making is pretty thick...

[Edited on February 23, 2017 at 8:51 AM. Reason : ]

2/23/2017 8:49:51 AM

TerdFerguson
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FYI, the EPA was significant in getting secondhand cigarette smoke classified as a known carcinogen. Just another tally in the WIN box.

2/23/2017 9:34:41 AM

bbehe
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Oh come now burro, I was merely responding in the same tone as you 'cool thread, bro'

The EPA has been an invaluable agency and has undoubtedly saved or improved the quality of millions of lives.

2/23/2017 10:11:43 AM

TKE-Teg
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Perhaps they've ranked highly because they more or less can operate around the democratic process. None of its leaders are elected.

2/23/2017 10:21:20 AM

thegoodlife3
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what?

2/23/2017 10:34:18 AM

TerdFerguson
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http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/brain-pollution-evidence-builds-dirty-air-causes-alzheimer-s-dementia

http://news.usc.edu/115654/air-pollution-may-lead-to-dementia-in-older-women/

Evidence growing that Particulate matter (PM2.5) is linked to Alzheimer's and dementia. Current estimate suggests 20% of all dementia cases may have PM2.5 as one of the primary causes!!!!

EPA regulations are credited with lowering PM concentration between 30-50% since the early 90s. The standard was just tightened in 2013.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/clean-air-within-reach-in-us-but-not-for-long/

2/23/2017 7:06:10 PM

TerdFerguson
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To add: Dementia costing the US a shit ton of healthcare spending per year, more than heart disease or cancer.
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-supported-study-finds-us-dementia-care-costs-high-215-billion-2010

2/23/2017 8:28:38 PM

rjrumfel
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I am in no way for getting rid of the EPA. I think it has done wonderful things for our country.

Having said that, there are few government agencies that can wield the type of power that the EPA does, simply due to their ability to pass what is essentially legislation via regulations.

But again, dismantling the EPA would be a serious blunder.

Anybody in and around the Triangle ever go play in the Haw River? It's a beautiful piece of work. It was also at one point in time one of the most polluted waterways in the country. If you've ever swam in it or canoed/kayaked on it, you can thank the EPA for coming out of the water with your skin intact.

2/24/2017 11:40:30 AM

HockeyRoman
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I am exceedingly curious to know what folks (especially those inclined against its existence/position) think actually happens at an EPA facility on a day to day basis.

2/25/2017 10:19:04 AM

kdogg(c)
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My guess is this:



https://www.wired.com/2015/08/epa-accidentally-turned-river-toxicand-orange/

Leave it to the Feds to make a problem worse by trying to make it better.

Quote :
"I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

2/27/2017 3:51:09 PM

TerdFerguson
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**Completely ignores private mining company that left its tailings and waste in a precarious position forcing taxpayers to come in and fix the problem**

Quote :
"I'm from teh private sector, I'm gonna do as little as I can get by with"


edit:

SURPRISE!!!!! Scott Pruitt has delayed new rules that would require a mining company to be bonded to cover any cleanup costs. The EPA has spent $1.1 billion between 2010 and 2014 on cleaning up private mining waste.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/epa-delays-rule-for-miners-to-give-cleanup-assurances/2017/02/24/562c7314-faef-11e6-aa1e-5f735ee31334_story.html?utm_term=.c196361514e8

[Edited on February 27, 2017 at 4:12 PM. Reason : Trump: I'm from the government and I'm gonna funnel money to my friends]

2/27/2017 3:59:50 PM

eleusis
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Quote :
"The EPA has spent $1.1 billion between 2010 and 2014 on cleaning up private mining waste."


I'd like to know how that compares to expenditure on government operated properties. Two thirds of our registered EPA superfund sites are military bases, and they seem to spend tons of money on monitoring and oversight while not actually doing any active cleanup. The poisonings at Camp Lejeune alone are estimated to cost taxpayers over $2 billion.

2/27/2017 5:14:53 PM

TerdFerguson
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That $1.1 billion is hard rock mining only

This GAO report from 2015 on the superfund program:
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-812

Quote :
"Annual federal appropriations to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program generally declined from about $2 billion to about $1.1 billion in constant 2013 dollars from fiscal years 1999 through 2013. "


So more money to superfund, with the caveat that there may also be some funds from both programs funding some of those mining sites.

And I agree the federal government is a big time polluter, although I'm not sure about your 2/3s of all sites number.
From the GAO report:
Quote :
"Under the Superfund program, EPA places some of the most seriously contaminated sites on the NPL (national priorities list - waiting list for superfund money). At the end of fiscal year 2013, nonfederal sites made up about 90 percent of these sites."


And Newsweek agrees:
http://www.newsweek.com/2014/07/25/us-department-defence-one-worlds-biggest-polluters-259456.html
Quote :
"Camp Lejeune is one of the Department’s 141 Superfund sites, which qualify for special clean up grants from the federal government. That’s about 10% of all of America’s Superfund sites, easily more than any other polluter. "




And sometimes monitoring a site and allowing contaminants to attenuate is both the least expensive and most safe way of dealing with some of these sites. Disturbing the site, and trucking contaminates to the landfill can be complicated or even dangerous. Some of the sites may also just be waiting on funding.

2/27/2017 5:53:48 PM

eleusis
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https://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf

Section 2, page 77 (p111 of the PDF) states that over 900 of the 1300 EPA superfund sites are either military bases or sites that produced products for military needs. While those sites may be technically privately owned, it's hard not to hold the military responsible for contracting out perchlorate, agent orange, and PCB remediation to the lowest bidder.

Also, I'm not sure that claiming that 90% of the superfund sites exist on nonfederal sites is the same as saying that 90% of the superfund sites weren't caused by the military. One of the Joint Base Andrews superfund sites has the majority of the contamination plume occurring on private property, as the contour of the land caused the benzene and PCBs to drift off of the property.

while I agree with letting the site sit is best in some cases, the JBA site has private residences within the contamination plume. Fort Bragg decided to build base housing all over top of their site, and Camp Lejeune denied issues with water contamination for years. They couldn't be bothered to spend money on relocation of people away from known carcinogens. Contrast that with EPA forcing anyone who ever did business with Ward transformer company to continue to pay cleanup efforts, despite those companies having no knowledge that Ward transformer was dumping the PCB contaminated oil they had paid for proper remediation of.

[Edited on February 27, 2017 at 7:50 PM. Reason : Ward xfmr comparison]

2/27/2017 7:37:53 PM

TerdFerguson
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God knows we can't expect a defense contractor to comply with federal and state environmental law unless the military is there holding its hand every step of the way (and that's assuming these sites don't pre-date most of our environmental law).

Camp Lejeune was a catastrophe, no arguments there.

And Ward Transformer has been litigated to death. Those companies are responsible for waste generation and disposal from the "cradle to the grave" under CERCLA/RCRA. I'm not an environmental lawyer so I doubt I could follow the details but every company contributing to Ward was found liable in court.

Regardless I've already acknowledged the military/government is a big time polluter that deals in nasty stuff. That's not really controversial.

2/28/2017 5:37:06 AM

TerdFerguson
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This is a good one I think a lot of people can relate to:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cleaner-bluefish-suggest-coal-rules-work/

A 40% reduction in Bluefish Mercury levels over the last 4 decades off the NC coast. Credit going to Coal-fired Powerplant rules.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) basically came online in April 2016 and are even more stringent on mercury, arsenic, and other nasty shit emitted by powerplants than the previous decades.

Of course, its looking likely that the Trump Administration might put a moratorium on MATS.

2/28/2017 1:19:26 PM

HockeyRoman
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For a guy who touts himself as the "jobs president", how exactly will this square when he wants to put 1 out of 5 EPA employees out on the street and slash the agency's budget by 25%? How many engineers, contractors, scientists, technicians and vendors will also lose their jobs in order to placate the ignorant? It's often spouted by the Right that environmental protections are "job killers", but how many people have lost their job because we have cleaner air & water and healthier indoor air quality while a very real number of science professionals are at risk of losing their livelihoods?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/01/white-house-proposes-cutting-epa-staff-by-one-fifth-eliminating-key-programs/?utm_term=.bf96e6c10cce&wpisrc=al_alert-hse
In case the apologists are tempted to wave me off as being hyperbolic...

[Edited on March 1, 2017 at 7:49 PM. Reason : article]

3/1/2017 7:20:59 PM

LoneSnark
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Disagree fervently. Pollution levels were falling before the EPA and continued to fall at about the same rate after its creation. States are more capable of rational pollution regulation than some federal agency designed and set up by Richard Nixon to reward his cronies and punish his enemies.

3/2/2017 11:12:18 AM

dtownral
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false

3/2/2017 11:13:47 AM

thegoodlife3
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whole lotta bullshit in that post

3/2/2017 11:16:30 AM

HUR
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We should let the free market handle pollution regulations. AM I RITE

If employees don't like the polluting employer they work for they can move their family away from the smog stacks!

3/6/2017 3:37:20 PM

LoneSnark
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Or, you know, sue them in court for damages. Or Contact the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Either way.

Clearly nothing anyone could have ever done with the federal EPA.

3/8/2017 3:14:50 PM

dtownral
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you naive child

3/8/2017 3:27:21 PM

thegoodlife3
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^

3/8/2017 3:32:33 PM

Socks``
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Quote :
"FYI, the EPA was significant in getting secondhand cigarette smoke classified as a known carcinogen. Just another tally in the WIN box."

-TerdFerguson

Second hand smoke is bullshit.
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2017/02/secondhand_smoke_isn_t_as_bad_as_we_thought.html

Or, more accurately, it is far less harmful than we previously thought. And that says a lot because not even the initial research supported all the draconian anti-smoking policies our government put it place (e.g. absolutely zero evidence supports NC reg banning smoking within X feet of govt building).

[Edited on March 11, 2017 at 8:48 AM. Reason : ``]

3/11/2017 8:20:37 AM

Socks``
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I also think LoneSnark is more right than you would like to think. Or, at the very least, there is evidence supporting the view that pollution (water pollution in particular) was already falling prior to the passage of the Clean Water Act. In fact, it was falling faster before the act was passed than after.

Quote :
"Since the 1972 U.S. Clean Water Act, government and industry have invested over $1 trillion to abate water pollution, or $100 per person-year. Over half of U.S. stream and river miles, however, still violate pollution standards. We use the most comprehensive set of files ever compiled on water pollution and its determinants, including 50 million pollution readings from 170,000 monitoring sites, to study water pollution's trends, causes, and welfare consequences. We have three main findings. First, water pollution concentrations have fallen substantially since 1972, though were declining at faster rates before then. Second, the Clean Water Act's grants to municipal wastewater treatment plants caused some of these declines. Third, the grants' estimated effects on housing values are generally smaller than the grants' costs."

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23070

Not that I think we should abolish the EPA. I think there are some environmental problems that can't be handled by litigation or state agencies (global warming being the biggest). But, let's not oversell it guys.

[Edited on March 11, 2017 at 8:38 AM. Reason : ``]

3/11/2017 8:27:43 AM

TerdFerguson
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^^nothing in that article even disputes the EPA's finding that cancer smoke is a known human carcinogen (class A). The article doesn't even bring up the EPA's estimates that 150,000 kids under 2 years old get bronchitis or pneumonia per year where 2nd hand smoke was a factor or that 2nd hand smoke can be a factor in kids developing asthma or exacerbating existing asthma conditions. I didn't even realize 2nd hand smoke had been linked to heart atttacks (apparently wrongly) till I read that article. Talk about a strawman.

^pollution may have been falling pre-EPA, but we can hardly dig into that papers claim unless you have access behind the paywall. Where they ambient sampling as many locations pre and post? What exactly were they sampling for? Who did the sampling? What about air pollution? Etc etc etc blah blah blah.

Still, you may be right that I'm overselling the EPA's effectiveness. In fact, I don't always agree with their findings and sometimes I think they act too conservatively in regard to the science or other times they give too much deference to the business community. And yet, in aggregate, over the past 40 years, I still stand behind my claim that no other government entity has accrued as many benefits for an average Joe American as the EPA.

3/11/2017 6:09:19 PM

Socks``
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Sorry if I left a different impression, but I never said the article disputed those stats. So I wasn't intentionally presenting a strawman. I just wanted to say that one of the biggest pieces of evidence that was used to sell indoor air quality laws turned out to be exaggerated. Would these laws pass a cost-benefit test without assuming nearly 10 thousand of lives would be saved each year from avoided heart disease? That seems like the more important question.

Anyways, let's return to what you originally said. You point out that the EPA helped get 2nd hand cig smoke classified as a known carcinogen. That maybe technically true, but that doesn't mean much. Lots of things are carcinogens that you eat everyday. If you eat corn, you're are consuming some trace amounts of glyphosate, which the WHO says is a carcinogen. But you consume so little it probably doesn't actually change your risk of cancer. So the real question is how much 2nd hand smoke actually increases people's risks and whether the benefit of policies that reduce those risks exceed the costs.

3/12/2017 1:10:58 AM

Socks``
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Here's a nongated version of the paper on the Clean Water Act.
http://www.econ.yale.edu/~js2755/CleanWaterAct_KeiserShapiro.pdf

You don't have to agree with it. I certainly won't try to defend it point-by-point. I just posted it to show that Lonesnark is not a "naive child" for having a different opinion than the brain trust represented by thegoodlife3 and dtownral.

3/12/2017 1:20:27 AM

dtownral
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You are both wrong

3/12/2017 8:44:20 AM

TerdFerguson
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Quote :
"I just wanted to say that one of the biggest pieces of evidence that was used to sell indoor air quality laws turned out to be exaggerated. Would these laws pass a cost-benefit test without assuming nearly 10 thousand of lives would be saved each year from avoided heart disease? That seems like the more important question."


Well I'd point out that it's not actually the EPA regulating smoking bans or tobacco smoke, typically its local governments or states. Smoking bans may not pass cost-benefit, but local governments and states generally aren't obliged to perform cost-benefits as the EPA is. So the EPA's position is likely closer to you than governments passing smoking bans.

Quote :
"
Anyways, let's return to what you originally said. You point out that the EPA helped get 2nd hand cig smoke classified as a known carcinogen. That maybe technically true, but that doesn't mean much. Lots of things are carcinogens that you eat everyday. If you eat corn, you're are consuming some trace amounts of glyphosate, which the WHO says is a carcinogen. But you consume so little it probably doesn't actually change your risk of cancer. So the real question is how much 2nd hand smoke actually increases people's risks and whether the benefit of policies that reduce those risks exceed the costs."


To be exacting here, the highest the WHO classified glyphosate was as a Class 2A carcinogen, i.e. A"probable human carcinogen," (whereas 2nd hand smoke is classified as a class 1 carcinogen, Known carcinogen). That was before the WHO waffled back to suggesting glyphosate probably wasn't a carcinogen (via different working groups, I'm not sure how the WHO makes decisions).

The EPA on the other hand has never classified glyphosate as a carcinogen (when exposure is through the diet)
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/glyphosate_issue_paper_evaluation_of_carcincogenic_potential.pdf

I understand your point that carcinogen classification, exposure, and regulation can be exceedingly complicated. In fact, I don't feel like I'm exactly sticking my neck out by saying there may be cancer/pollution issues the EPA is getting wrong right now, by either being too stringent or not stringent enough. I trust that as an organization they will follow the science and eventually get it right.

3/12/2017 9:01:45 AM

moron
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Quote :
"

Or, more accurately, it is far less harmful than we previously thought. And that says a lot because not even the initial research supported all the draconian anti-smoking policies our government put it place (e.g. absolutely zero evidence supports NC reg banning smoking within X feet of govt building)."


That probably has more to do with not forcing people to walk through a disgusting cloud of smoke every time they enter or exit a building. It doesn't require smoking to be carcinogenic for us to recognize having people smoking in and around buildings is one of the dumbest things our society ever fell for.

3/12/2017 9:05:55 AM

JP
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ugh, the rumors on possible state grant cuts is making me uneasy

3/15/2017 10:03:32 AM

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