As readers may recall, a brouhaha erupted three summers ago concerning BP’s planned expansion of its Whiting Refinery near Chicago, Illinois. BP had received permission to release marginally more pollutants, including ammonia and mercury, into the water. Facing public outcry, BP held a press conference explaining that the water they were releasing was actually cleaner than the Lake Michigan water from which it came. The public remained unconvinced, insisting that regardless of the net effect, BP should still comply with the strict original standards.
Ironically, that same rabid devotion to EPA standards has made the current BP Gulf oil spill worse. As the Financial Post explains, the Netherlands and other foreign countries with highly developed cleanup vessels offered their services to the United States in the days after the Deepwater Explosion – but the US turned them down. Even though foreign technology far eclipsed our own, and would have resulted in far less oil polluting our shores, we nonetheless rejected it because the clean water it produced did not quite meet EPA standards. Chalk this up as yet another example of regulations accomplishing the opposite of their intended purpose: instead of benefitting the American public, they magnified the harm.