It has been more than 20 years since I worked as a senior attorney at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using my legal training to help enforce the Clean Water Act and advise agency managers on a range of hazardous waste issues.
When I joined the regulatory agency in 1992, I felt my work would matter; that I would play a small role in protecting public and environmental health. And during the ten years I worked there, I always felt I was making a positive difference and my managers were usually able to apply the law in ways that balanced the interests of various stakeholders.
Over the years, however, it has become more apparent that this is often no longer the case, and that powerful corporate interests have taken too much control over EPA’s decision-making processes. Nowhere is this more apparent than in EPA’s chemicals and pesticides programs.
The last 30 years have brought countless examples of EPA’s appalling incompetence and willful corruption as the agency routinely capitulates to the interests of the chemical industry and ignores or minimizes human health and environmental risks.