Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar? I Did! Me! Me!
President Bush and the folks he plans to bring with him into office — Gale Norton at Interior, Christine Todd Whitman at U.S. EPA, et al — are big fans of letting industry police itself on environmental regulations, rather than relying on government crackdowns to reduce pollution. The idea behind “self-auditing” is that it does away with the adversarial relationship between government and industry, and will ultimately lead to a cleaner environment at lower cost because the majority of companies want to be good citizens — they just need to be given the chance to show it. Under most self-auditing schemes, companies are not fined if they report any excess pollution and have already moved to make corrections for the future. Enviros, of course, are skeptical of the notion of self-policing, and some studies of existing self-auditing initiatives have shown that the companies most interested in self-monitoring are the ones most interested in polluting.