Lane Closure Exposure

New Jersey traffic retribution scandal tough for Houstonians to understand.

Beale might have gotten away with that one, but the jig was up when he retired in 2011, had a party and everything, but continued to collect his paycheck for the next 19 months. Thus the EPA's current image is one of an agency that totally missed a top employee lying and stealing a ton of money from the government, which probably won't help get the EPA budget restored anytime soon.

But don't despair quite yet. As some elf or other said in Lord of the Rings, all is not lost. Historically, the EPA has high times and low times. During the eras when the agency is well funded, the inspectors are out there with a firm hand on all that regulating to be done.

It's a part of the mission, created when the framework of environmental law — a net formed of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resources Recovery — was put into place beginning in the 1970s. With cuts pretty well eviscerating the EPA budget, the money simply won't be there to fund heavy-duty enforcement, but that's where people tend to step up their game, says Hester.

Imagine fighting for your political life over this.
Photo by TexasDarkHorse via Flickr
Imagine fighting for your political life over this.

"All of the laws passed to protect the environment have provided an interlocking framework, and it gave the public the ability to sue, empowering the public to step in and enforce the law when the government hasn't. The EPA has waxed and waned a lot over the years," he said.

While Hair Balls admires the optimism here, we have to admit we do have some doubts that "the people" are going to be just as good as actual regulation. Beggars can't be choosers, though, so here's hoping he's right.

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Excuse me, Jeff Balke? What is hard to understand about the NJ "traffic retribution scandal"???

First of all, most Houstonians are obviously "smarter than you". Second, anyone paying attention to the news, or having had watched an episode of "Law and Order", or the Sopranos, would have gotten the gist of it, by now. I've been to NJ. I've driven to NYC. I know more than you.

Aaron Coleman

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