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The Poisoning of America
 from Berkeley, CA.,  Mar 30, 2010

In the first few pages of Toxic Loopholes the author poses 2 questions he intends to answer: ?How well are our major environmental laws working?? ?What prevents them from achieving their stated goals?? This book provided insightful, provocative answers to both questions by examining the real life stories of communities across America trying to gain the assistance of the law and the EPA to clean up their land, air and water. Toxic Loopholes arrives at a perfect time in history. Although the media provides more environmental coverage than ever before, most people still believe we have effective laws and government agencies that will shield them from pollution. By using real life examples and powerful facts, Toxic Loopholes convinced me that this is simply not so. This is the only book I?m aware of that thoroughly de-mystifies the environmental protection process. It clearly explains the fatal flaws in our environmental laws and exposes the extreme malfeasance of agencies like the EPA that are supposed to enforce them. Toxic Loopholes is engaging but disturbing to read. It is full of fascinating stories with scoundrels and heroes. For example, it chronicled the courageous efforts of Robert Martin and Hugh Kaufman who used their position as EPA Ombudsman to expose the corrupt relationship between EPA bosses and corporate polluters, who were allowed to get away without cleaning up the communities they poisoned. It also revealed the vindictive response of successive EPA chiefs--like Christie Todd Whitman--who did everything in their power to silence, intimidate and eventually eliminate the Ombudsman?s office after Martin and Kaufman exposed her lie that the toxic air around ground zero was safe to breathe only 3 days after the twin towers collapsed. I was pleased that the book looked at both domestic and international efforts to protect the planet. The extensive chapter on the politics of climate change provided a comparison of several contending views on whether nations can cooperate to solve such global problems. Then it tested the validity of these views by examining two case studies: the successful ozone treaty and the floundering negotiations to prevent climate disruption. The author?s conclusions were both sobering and eye-opening. The careful research that went into Toxic Loopholes was informed by historical analysis, political theory, realpolitik, ecology, economic theory, and environmental ethics. In addition, it contained some clear-headed prescriptions for ecological improvement without pretending that our society can become ecologically sustainable unless it abandons the relentless pursuit profit and growth. This well researched text provides readers with a systematic analysis of the history, politics, failures and occasional triumphs of our environmental laws. His discussion about the necessity of preserving biodiversity, the importance of the precautionary principle and four theories framing the prospects for global environmental cooperation were alone worth reading the text.

  • Would you recommend this to a friend? Yes
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