Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Corporate Library
Environmental Defense
Environmental Media Services
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


Euro War Over the Environment
Grist Magazine recently ran an article about the internal and external war (metaphorically speaking) over the European Union's stringent (an understatement) new environmental laws. According to Grist, the United States Chamber of Commerce is threatening to sue, and E.U. Commissioner has just launched the biggest deregulation campaign in E.U. history. The Greens and NGOs do not plan to go down without a fight.

Three particularly prominent new laws are: Registration, Evaluation, and Assessment of Chemical Hazards; Restriction of Hazardous Substances; and Directive on Waste Electronic and Electric Equipment. Grist is enchanted with the acronyms for these three laws. So is Winston: REACH, RoHS and everyone's favorite WEEE.

RoHS and WEEE have already passed. REACH is still stuck in the European Parliament.

RoHS focuses on eliminating six substances: cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, polybrominated biphenyl ethers. Winston does not know what most of these substances are, but they are apparently important components of electronics. The E.U.'s passage of RoHS suggests that they wish Europe to return to the Dark Ages, or at least to an age without modern electric devices.

WEEE requires collection, recycling, and recovery of electrical goods. According to GRIST, there is a "23-foot-tall, 3.5 ton, electronic-waste WEEE Man in London." If Winston ever gets a trip to London, he may give new meaning to the term "WEEE." The WEEE Man is way bigger than any fire hydrant Winton's has ever seen. Winston loves a challenge.

REACH is the most controversial of the three. The draft legislation imposes stricter testing requirements for almost 30,000 chemicals. It was REACH that inspired litigation threats by the Chamber. Recent reports are that two key E.U. Parliamentary committees–Internal Market and Industry–have approved measures that would mitigate some of the burden imposed by REACH. The Greens are reportedly lobbying other committees in their fight against any mitigation of REACH.

If the Greens fail, and REACH is reduced before passage, then Winston's only solace to the disappointed Greens is, "If a man's reach can not exceed his grasp, then what's a Heaven for?" Perhaps the next world will be green.

  • Click here for Grist article

    CRE Homepage