In yesterday's Washington Post, columnist/reporter (or both, I'm not sure) Cyndy Skrzycki advises that the Unites States Chamber of Commerce is pressing an administrative appeal that contends 16 EPA databases contain errors. The Chamber contends that these data bases, which are, among other things, used to set chemical clean-up standards, are resulting in businesses expending unnecessary resources to meet erroneous environmental standards.
Ms. Skrzycki's Washington Post article contains competing quotes from the Chamber on the one hand and from the environmentalist lobby on the other hand:
"We aren't trying to force withdrawal, but to get the numbers right," said William Kovacs , chamber vice president of environment, technology and regulatory affairs. "We want them to 'fess up and get it right. Our contention is if they disseminate this data, they are responsible for its correctness."
The Center for Progressive Regulation , a liberal think tank, said in a March paper that "disgruntled industries [are trying] an end-run around well-established procedures for promulgating rules to improve air quality, clean up toxic waste sites, and protect children and wildlife from pesticide residues."
One apparently knowledgeable observer takes the view that, while the Chamber's position may have merit, "the changes [the Chamber] seeks are unrealistic because the agency can't afford the time or expense of revamping the databases. Correcting the errors would take EPA away from other priorities...." (!)
If this observer is correct, then the situation has become Kafkaesque ("[m]arked by surreal distortion"; The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000). The EPA does not promote good science by ignoring past regulatory flaws because addressing them would take time and effort away from launching new regulatory initiatives which may themselves be based on the original flawed data.