Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker thinks individual states should be given responsability for managing air and water pollition within their borders. That would essentially eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “I think states can do it all across America much better than the federal government,” Walker said in an article published Monday by the conservative Washington Examiner.
Steve Hiniker with One Thousand Friends of Wisconsin says pollution doesn’t recognize state boundaries, and says Walker’s idea appears to run counter to a traditional GOP talking point. “The complaint used to be that states have a patchwork of environmental laws, that make compliance exceedingly difficult for businesses. That’s why we have a common set of standards. That argumemt made a lot of sense,” Hiniker said.
“What the govenor seems to be proposing here is to do away with that common set of standards, and allow states to set their own, which could have enormous costs for industry when it comes to compliance.”
Hiniker also noted that pollution doesn’t recognize state boundaries. “All you have to do is take a look at what’s happening in southeast Wisconsin, where ozone is a huge problem,” he said. “It’s a non-attainment area, and so much of that pollution is transported from places like Chicago.”
Walker proposed making the EPA an “umbrella” agency for state agencies like the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He said the EPA would simply mediate “interstate conflicts.”