Cover image for Pollution control in the United States : evaluating the system
Pollution control in the United States : evaluating the system
Davies, J. Clarence.
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Publication Information:
Washington, DC : Resources for the Future, [1998]

Physical Description:
xiii, 319 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Material Type
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TD180 .D39 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This study provides an analysis of how efforts to control pollution are succeeding in the USA, and where they are failing. The text presents a detailed description of the pollution control regulatory system, and examines the character and function of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The authors pinpoint the system's goals, and consider which of its priorities are appropriate. While acknowledging the successes of American pollution control in recent decades, the report finds the current system to be seriously flawed and misguided in many ways. It traces many of the problems to the structure of the system, and calls for a more integrated approach.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Davies and Mazurek attempt a balanced review of the actual results of environmental legislation in the US, with emphasis on the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, as administered by EPA. They begin with descriptions of the laws and regulations themselves, and compare their effects to a set of criteria (primarily in the nature of cost/benefit analyses) against which the actual results of environmental legislation can be assessed. Besides the primarily chemical results--levels of specified contaminants as a function of time over the lifetime of the controlling legislation--the book also discusses, without passion, such "softer," meta-questions as priorities for regulation, risk/benefit tradeoffs, and the difference between environmental justice and environmental equity, the last of these being the tendency of powerful groups to subject economically or politically weaker groups to an excess burden of pollution through the siting of such noxious or hazardous installations as landfills, incinerators, and the like. The style is logical but suffers from lack of concrete examples and case studies that would enliven the bland and abstract discussions. The index is machine-made and looks it, with little evidence of intelligence or imagination. The nominal authors attach their name explicitly only to the one-page preface and attribute the rest of the volume to the "collective efforts of a large number of people." It reads that way. Recommended, blandly, for undergraduates. T. R. Blackburn; American Chemical Society