My latest blog post on the impending ban on the incandescent lightbulb has garnered quite a bit of discussion on Facebook here and here. The Facebook discussion, especially at my personal page here, got into how mindless and unscientific mandates from the Environmental Protection Agency can be.
New York City, ruled by Nurse Bloomberg, is now getting a taste of what it’s like to be an American business intimidated by the EPA. No matter how progressive or compliant to the feds’ wishes NYC has been, that’s never enough when the EPA gets a bee in its bonnet.
You can lead the Environmental Protection Agency to water, but you can’t make it think. That’s what New York City has learned after suggesting changes to costly, needless regulations that the federal government is imposing on Gotham.
The regulations will cost billions, are “truly burdensome” and almost entirely useless, says New York City environmental commissioner Cas Holloway, who wrote a 15-page letter to the EPA explaining what is wrong with its analysis.
Take the mandate governing Hillview, a 90-acre, 900-million gallon reservoir in Yonkers, north of the city. The EPA wants the city to build a $1.6 billion-plus cover to prevent contamination by cryptosporidium, a water-born pathogen that causes diarrhea.
There’s one problem. The pathogen hasn’t been found in the reservoir despite years of tests and is barely present in the city, with about 100 confirmed cases of illness each year due to the little critter. Mr. Holloway says the EPA “inexplicably” claims that covering the reservoir would prevent between 112,000 and 365,000 cases annually, which is “off by several incidents of magnitude.” Such wildly inflated estimates are an EPA staple, intended to scare the public.
Gotham has already spent nearly $15 billion since 2002 for federally-mandated water projects, with the feds chipping in less than 1% of the cost. Next year it will finish building a $1.6 billion ultraviolet facility—the largest in the world—to disinfect water even more than it already does. City water rates have increased by 134% since 2002, more than 91% since 2006, and they will rise further if the EPA doesn’t bend. None of this seems to matter to Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Facts don’t matter to federal agencies like the EPA. Power does. NYC is learning that lesson. Hopefully, it sticks.