The Mission of the Manhattan Institute is
to develop and disseminate new ideas that
foster greater economic choice and
individual responsibility.

The New York Times.

Environmental Reviews for Small Developments
August 19, 2007

To the Editor:

Re “Building Blocks,” by Richard Ravitch and Hope Cohen (Op-Ed, Aug. 5), about the supposedly wasteful expense of environmental impact reviews for smaller developments:

There’s that human loophole in capitalism again.

The suggestion is that what makes sense to do, with a sound premise, shouldn’t be bothered with because the delay in reviewing documents is a costly, unwarranted expense.

One example is given of required environmental analyses not finding any hazards. Where’s the logic—especially in the times we live in—of claiming it isn’t worth it to take the trouble for smaller projects? That if you don’t find something out until after the fact of building, and have to undo it, or live with the damage, that there’d be less to undo—or less-valued people damaged?

Being overburdened with inefficient bureaucracy is a problem, but that there’s a backlog in getting things done isn’t a reason to not do what’s intended. It’s a reason to fix why things get backlogged.

It might even be sensible for more people to understand the process involved in doing the reviews, as more new building in these times and forward will be in locations of earlier eras, with whatever their residual toxic or problematic situations may be.

Margaret S. Dabney
Morningside Heights

©2007 The New York Times



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