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Toxic Loopholes: Failures and Future Prospects for Environmental Law

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Overview

The EPA was established to enforce the environmental laws Congress enacted during the 1970s. Yet today lethal toxins still permeate our environment, causing widespread illness and even death. Toxic Loopholes investigates these laws, and the agency charged with their enforcement, to explain why they have failed to arrest the nation’s rising environmental crime wave and clean up the country’s land, air, and water. This book illustrates how weak laws, legal loopholes, and regulatory negligence harm everyday people struggling to clean up their communities. It demonstrates that our current system of environmental protection pacifies the public with a false sense of security, dampens environmental activism, and erects legal barricades and bureaucratic barriers to shield powerful polluters from the wrath of their victims. After examining the corrosive economic and political forces undermining environmental law making and enforcement, the final chapters assess the potential for real improvement and the possibility of building cooperative international agreements to confront the rising tide of ecological perils threatening the entire planet.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521143028
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,273,027
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr Craig Collins has authored articles on climate negotiations for AMBIO and the Clinton administration's environmental policies for Mother Jones. After teaching at Sonoma State University and the University of California, Davis in the early 1990s, he became part of the faculty at California State University East Bay, where he continues to teach environmental law and policymaking, Latin American politics, global political economy, U.S. foreign policy, and several other courses. As visiting faculty for the University of Pittsburgh's Semester at Sea program, Collins has lectured on world affairs, climate change negotiations, U.S. foreign policy and Latin American politics aboard ship on the program's world tour and its tour of the Caribbean basin.

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Table of Contents

1. The EPA; 2. The Clean Air Act; 3. The Clean Water Act; 4. Superfund and RCRA; 5. TSCA; 6. The Endangered Species Act; 7. Planetary problems; 8. Conclusion.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    America's Toxic Failures

    In the first few pages of Toxic Loopholes the author poses 2 questions he intends to answer: "How well are our major environmental laws working?" "What prevents them from achieving their stated goals?" This book provided insightful, provocative answers to both questions by examining the real life stories of communities across America trying to gain the assistance of the law and the EPA to clean up their land, air and water.Toxic Loopholes arrives at a perfect time in history. Although the media provides more environmental coverage than ever before, most people still believe we have effective laws and government agencies that will shield them from pollution. By using real life examples and powerful facts, Toxic Loopholes convinced me that this is simply not so. This is the only book I'm aware of that thoroughly de-mystifies the environmental protection process. It clearly explains the fatal flaws in our environmental laws and exposes the extreme malfeasance of agencies like the EPA that are supposed to enforce them.Toxic Loopholes is engaging but disturbing to read. It is full of fascinating stories with scoundrels and heroes. For example, it chronicled the courageous efforts of Robert Martin and Hugh Kaufman who used their position as EPA Ombudsman to expose the corrupt relationship between EPA bosses and corporate polluters, who were allowed to get away without cleaning up the communities they poisoned. It also revealed the vindictive response of successive EPA chiefs--like Christie Todd Whitman--who did everything in their power to silence, intimidate and eventually eliminate the Ombudsman's office after Martin and Kaufman exposed her lie that the toxic air around ground zero was safe to breathe only 3 days after the twin towers collapsed.I was pleased that the book looked at both domestic and international efforts to protect the planet. The extensive chapter on the politics of climate change provided a comparison of several contending views on whether nations can cooperate to solve such global problems. Then it tested the validity of these views by examining two case studies: the successful ozone treaty and the floundering negotiations to prevent climate disruption. The author's conclusions were both sobering and eye-opening.The careful research that went into Toxic Loopholes was informed by historical analysis, political theory, realpolitik, ecology, economic theory, and environmental ethics. In addition, it contained some clear-headed prescriptions for ecological improvement without pretending that our society can become ecologically sustainable unless it abandons the relentless pursuit profit and growth.This well researched text provides readers with a systematic analysis of the history, politics, failures and occasional triumphs of our environmental laws. His discussion about the necessity of preserving biodiversity, the importance of the precautionary principle and four theories framing the prospects for global environmental cooperation were alone worth reading the text.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Story of the Poisoning of our Planet

    In the first few pages of Toxic Loopholes the author poses 2 questions he intends to answer: "How well are our major environmental laws working?" "What prevents them from achieving their stated goals?" This book provided insightful, provocative answers to both questions by examining the real life stories of communities across America trying to gain the assistance of the law and the EPA to clean up their land, air and water.

    Toxic Loopholes arrives at a perfect time in history. Although the media provides more environmental coverage than ever before, most people still believe we have effective laws and government agencies that will shield them from pollution. By using real life examples and powerful facts, Toxic Loopholes convinced me that this is simply not so. This is the only book I'm aware of that thoroughly de-mystifies the environmental protection process. It clearly explains the fatal flaws in our environmental laws and exposes the extreme malfeasance of agencies like the EPA that are supposed to enforce them.

    Toxic Loopholes is engaging but disturbing to read. It is full of fascinating stories with scoundrels and heroes. For example, it chronicled the courageous efforts of Robert Martin and Hugh Kaufman who used their position as EPA Ombudsman to expose the corrupt relationship between EPA bosses and corporate polluters, who were allowed to get away without cleaning up the communities they poisoned. It also revealed the vindictive response of successive EPA chiefs--like Christie Todd Whitman--who did everything in their power to silence, intimidate and eventually eliminate the Ombudsman's office after Martin and Kaufman exposed her lie that the toxic air around ground zero was safe to breathe only 3 days after the twin towers collapsed.

    I was pleased that the book looked at both domestic and international efforts to protect the planet. The extensive chapter on the politics of climate change provided a comparison of several contending views on whether nations can cooperate to solve such global problems. Then it tested the validity of these views by examining two case studies: the successful ozone treaty and the floundering negotiations to prevent climate disruption. The author's conclusions were both sobering and eye-opening.

    The careful research that went into Toxic Loopholes was informed by historical analysis, political theory, realpolitik, ecology, economic theory, and environmental ethics. In addition, it contained some clear-headed prescriptions for ecological improvement without pretending that our society can become ecologically sustainable unless it abandons the relentless pursuit profit and growth.

    This well researched text provides readers with a systematic analysis of the history, politics, failures and occasional triumphs of our environmental laws. His discussion about the necessity of preserving biodiversity, the importance of the precautionary principle and four theories framing the prospects for global environmental cooperation were alone worth reading the text.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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