Regulation: Required?

Science  05 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5847, pp. 31d
DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5847.31d

At an international meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, the Bush Administration emphasized voluntary measures to tackle climate change—a hands-off approach that has been widely used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deal with environmental problems. But clear examples of success are rare, according to a report released last week by the EPA's inspector general. The report finds that EPA lacks a system for determining whether its 54 voluntary programs—which cover everything from reducing air pollution to creating safer detergents—are improving the environment. EPA associate administrator Brian Mannix agreed that stronger management is needed but noted that White House officials already review voluntary programs. That's not good enough oversight, says William Pizer of Resources for the Future, calling the inspector general's report “damning criticism.”

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