September 6, 2010

JONATHAN ADLER ON BEDBUGS, THE EPA, AND FEDERALISM. “If local communities wish to strike a different risk balance than the feds, the EPA should not stand in their way. It is one thing for the EPA to inform local choices, and help clarify the relevant health trade-offs, quite another to impose one set of health preferences on the nation as a whole. If EPA’s resistance to propoxur was motivated by spillover concerns, such as potential groundwater pollution that could cross state lines, the federal rule would make sense. But it is not and does not. This is precisely the sort of environmental problem which state and local preferences should control.”

The real lesson of the bedbug epidemic is this: Once, the government’s primary role was protecting us from things like that. Now its primary role is stopping us from fixing them.

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