|Hurricane Sandy photo by Jonah Markowitz|
he constraints and unintended consequences.
The intent with this blog assignment and the last is to show you how complicated it is to manage and regulate anything. To fully understand wetlands or worker protection policy, you also need a sense of history and an understanding of power. Concerning the OSHA case, the editorial board of the New York Times wrote that although there is blame for the company, regulators and the laws, "the main responsibility lies with the employer. We (voters and governments past and present) have whittled down OSHA so that it conducts inspections half as often as it did under Reagan (1980s) and has a budget to protect workers that is less than half that allocated to protect fish and wildlife. Although the Obama administration has brought in more OSHA inspectors, the ratio of 1 inspector per 60,000 workers has not changed since 1970" (NY Times Editorial Board 2013).
This blog assignment derives from my interview with a former staff member of the Water Pollution Control division of the Department of Environmental Protection in Massachusetts.
Listen to this audio powerpoint on wetlands and water pollution control. Choose Case Study 1 or 2 and listen to either plus the intro and concluding audios. The Intro slides are 1-4, 6 and 7. Case Study 1 is on slides 5 and 8. This case concerns wetlands protection and land development. Case Study 2 concerns the dredging of a waterway and the dilemma of where to put the dredge material which was full of heavy metals. It's on slides 9 and 10. The Conclusion is on slides 11 and 12.
1. What did you understand from the audio about the importance of wetlands?
2. What did you understand of the regulator's discussion of the difficulties of regulating in light of the desire to develop/use resources, specifically wetlands?
3. What relationship do you see between the regulator's
position on wetlands protection and the precautionary principle?
4. Do you think it's necessary to sell environmental protection to the public by emphasizing how nature is important to us rather than the right of nature to exist?
5. What understanding did you gain from this regulator about the process of protecting wetlands?
Be sure to indicate what case study you listened to as part of your answer to these questions.