Beyond Superfailure: America's Toxics Policy for the 1990s

Overview

Despite numerous small success stories, the big picture of America's toxics programs is one of overall failure. Superfund has failed to clean up America's worst dump sites; policies to regulate generation of new hazardous waste have foundered; standards have been set for only eight of several hundred air toxics; transportation spills and industrial toxics accidents continue unabated. In part, this "superfailure" reflects problems of bureaucratic implementation, but more importantly, it points to a failing of ...
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Overview

Despite numerous small success stories, the big picture of America's toxics programs is one of overall failure. Superfund has failed to clean up America's worst dump sites; policies to regulate generation of new hazardous waste have foundered; standards have been set for only eight of several hundred air toxics; transportation spills and industrial toxics accidents continue unabated. In part, this "superfailure" reflects problems of bureaucratic implementation, but more importantly, it points to a failing of democratic discourse, technical risk assessment, and ultimately the political process. Mazmanian and Morell address these issues and others in proposing a new approach to toxics policymaking for the 1990s and beyond. Skillfully employing case studies and examples from all over America and abroad, the authors chronicle the history of toxics disasters and success stories and then recommend basic changes in the way the United States should handle environmental problems of all types in the future. Chief among these prescriptions is a new emphasis on community-based discussion and decisionmaking, in combination with federal macrolevel policy guidelines and industry-initiated policy innovations. The authors set forth detailed suggestions for ways to replace today's policy inertia with initiatives they characterize as "positive action compliance, positive action permitting, and positive action cleanup." Engaging and thoroughly accessible, Beyond Superfailure will be of interest to students and practitioners of environmental policy as well as to activists and citizens who want to improve both the environment and the democratic process. Extensively illustrated with charts, checklists, and diagrams, the book should be useful and provocative in presenting a case for positive policy change.
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Editorial Reviews

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Superfund has failed to clean up America's worst dump sites, policies to regulate generation of new hazardous waste have foundered, standards have been set for only eight of several hundred air toxics, and transportation spills and industrial toxics accidents continue unabated. Employing case studies and examples from all over America and abroad, the authors chronicle the history of toxics disasters and success stories and then recommend basic changes in the way the United States should handle environmental problems of all types in the future. Paper edition (1467-4), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813314662
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1992
  • Pages: 278

Table of Contents

List of Boxes
Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Acronyms
1 Past Lessons and Future Promises 1
The Legacy of Love Canal 3
Responding to Love Canal 7
Lessons of America's First Toxics Decade 7
The Four Stages of the First Toxics Decade 12
The Transformation to the Second Toxics Decade 18
From Ideas to Action: The Second Toxics Decade 20
What Is to Follow 23
Notes 24
2 Cleanup: Superfund or Superfailure? 27
The CERCLA Process 30
Identifying Effects on Human Health 33
Who Pays? 33
Federalism in Action 39
Criteria For Cleanup 42
Victim Compensation 45
Toward Improved Implementation of Superfund 47
Notes 51
3 How Clean Is Clean? A Case Study of the Nation's No. 1 Superfund Toxic Dump 57
A Simple Beginning 58
Creating a Toxic Soup 59
Building a Bathtub 61
Draining the Toxic Bathtub 63
Dueling Definitions 65
The Conflict Expands 67
Biting the Bullet 70
Health Anxieties 71
The Cleanup Continues 73
Notes 75
4 An Ounce of Prevention: Managing Today's Wastes Successfully 77
Defining Hazardous Wastes 80
The Regulatory Design of RCRA 86
RCRA's Early Years: Superfailure in New Garb 90
A Federal-State Partnership 91
The Transition Away from Land Disposal: A Review of RCRA Progress 94
Policy Learning and the 1984 HSWA Revisions 97
Land Disposal or Treatment? The Conundrum of Capacity Availability 106
RCRA Implementation, Round Two 107
Notes 111
5 Engineering Economics and Politics: Technologies for Safe Hazardous Waste Management 117
Safe Hazardous Waste Management Alternatives 118
The Technological Options 119
Constraints on the Development of Needed Capacity 132
Lessons from Abroad 136
Notes 142
6 Beyond Hazardous Waste: Sale Management of Hazardous and Toxic Materials 145
State Initiatives: Stronger Enforcement and Regulation 147
Federal Reporting and Monitoring of Hazardous Materials 151
Controlling Leaks from Underground Storage Tanks 161
Regulating Transportation of Hazardous Materials 166
Regulating Hazardous Air Pollutants 167
Toxics Populism: California's Proposition 65 169
Toxics Policy: From Revolution to Evolution 174
Notes 175
7 Just Say "No" - Facility Siting and the Failure of Democratic Discourse 179
Why New Facilities Are Not Being Sited 180
Responses to the Failure to Site 186
A Framework for Successful Siting 191
Notes 204
8 Looking Forward: Effective Toxics Policy Agenda for the 1990s 209
Broad Strategies to Direct Decisions of Individual Firms 211
Positive-Action Permitting, Compliance, and Cleanup 222
A Community Contract for Siting a Single Facility 233
A Public Utility Model for Siting, Permitting, and Management 235
Regional Compacts and Management Strategies 236
Comprehensive Waste Management Through Auctions 237
Democratic Discourse and Toxics Policy 241
Notes 243
Glossary 247
About the Book and Authors 263
Index 265
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