Strengths and Weaknesses In The Pollution Protection Act
The Pollution Protection Act (PPA) is a regulatory law that aims introducing or eliminating hazardous waste pollution in the United States. The act does this in several ways including reducing waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and re-using materials. Since its enactment in 1990, there are many cases where the PPA has very successful reduced initial pollution as well as production costs associated with waste management. You will find a host of case studies on the Environmental Protection agencies’ website. However, the PPA is still largely under used and regarded as inefficient. Congress, politicians, and environmental regulators agree the PPA is lacking fundamental tools that would streamline the Act’s function in the environmental regulatory process. Without a major update the PPA will remain a stagnant piece of environmental regulation.
The Pollution Protection act came into law after congress realized that there was a significant need to reduce pollution at the source thereby preventing future pollution. Before PPA, pollution laws had only addressed treatment and proper disposal of pollution, not pollution prevention. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for the successful implementation of the PPA. The EPA does this by setting up a source reduction programs. These Programs collect information from states, as well as provides them with financial support to carry out associated projects. The EPA monitors the effectiveness of these programs by requiring organizations to send compliance reports such as toxic release reports which check the output of toxic chemicals. One such example of this is the right to know law, which protect workers from being exposed to harmful chemicals by making them aware of the chemicals they come in contact with during work.
The right to know laws have been a great success of the PPA. Still PPA implementation requires extensive cooperation between federal, state, and local levels of government, which is difficult to carry out and limits the PPA’s ability. In addition to this difficulty, the PPA has issues translating between diverse cases. This difficulty is why the PPA is boldly criticized for having weak regulatory language. For example the PPA does not contain clearly defined conditions that prove the progress or success of programs. According to the 2010 National Pollution Roundtable’s report, the largest barrier to PPA’s effectiveness is that it was impossible to translate units into one common denominator that would allow for comparison of certain reductions in pollution, thus complicating data gathering at the most basic level. The last major difficulty of the PPA is the lack of political and financial support it receives. Since 1990 there have been many changes to the PPA however this assessment demonstrates how the PPA has good framework but lacks real teeth needed to compete politically.
Although it is effective in many cases, the PPA lacks 21st century methods. To strengthen the PPA several recommendations are necessary; first over PPA needs a more cohesive method of comparison and measurement for data collected, it is nearly impossible for it to become efficient as a regulatory act without being able to measure success. Second, PPA needs an overhaul to gain favor in mainstream environmental politics so it will receive more attention and funding. The key strategy for PPA implementation is the amount of money investors save by reducing their production costs as well as decreasing environmental impact. More so than ever, corporations have an incentive to follow PPA regulations and PPA has more leverage towards achieving that goal.