A 5-person commission and other modest changes would bring accountability to the agency.
By William L. Kovacs
The primary reason is to dilute the massive regulatory powers that currently reside in a single Administrator, whose agency in recent years has been responsible for fully 25% of all federal regulations, a number of which were sharply criticized as being based on faulty or insufficient evidence.
Secondly, a five-person commission would make it more difficult for the agency to manipulate science, economics and facts in the rulemaking process. The minority members of the commission would have access to the same data as available to majority commissioners, thus allowing for minority reports that would be used in the rulemaking process and by courts in judicial reviews of a regulation.
This second installment recommends a few modest but substantive changes that would create an agency better able to balance environmental protection with economic growth, and to recognize that a strong economy is also essential for human health and environmental quality.
- 1) Transform the agency from one in which each part of the agency focuses on a single statute, thereby fostering myopic thinking, into an agency that coordinates functions to address all the most serious environmental risks facing our country. To make this change, the agency needs to appreciate that what was needed or what worked in the 1970s and 1980s (addressing specific types of end-of-the-pipe pollution) is not as relevant today, because most of those earlier challenges have been addressed.
Today the agency needs to focus on preventing new kinds of pollution, using