Does the EPA have too much power? The owners and employees of Higman Sand and Gravel probably think so after an armed raid on their office. For details, contact Chad Cowan at (202) 543-4110.
On August 23, 1991, 18 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agents raided Higman Sand and Gravel with guns drawn. They burst into the secretary's office, pointed a gun in her face, and yelled "don't move!" After 53 years in business and a spotless record, the owners of the Akron, Iowa-based business were shocked.
What precipitated such action? A paid informant had alerted the EPA that
Higman was illegally storing hazardous waste. After searching the premises,
the EPA agents did find a small quantity of paint thinner dumped on the
property. That was enough for the EPA to file charges and send the case
to a federal court in Sioux City. But during the course of the trial, it
was discovered that the EPA's paid informant had planted the paint thinner
on Higman Sand and Gravel property. Had Higman Sand and Gravel been convicted
on the charges, the informant stood to profit handsomely: He was promised
$24,000 on top of the $2,000 he had already received for tipping the EPA
off. Who says that the EPA doesn't know how incentives work?
Source: Field hearing on regulatory reform before House
of Representatives Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources
and Regulatory Affairs (February 9, 1996).
Posthaste Facts on the Environment #23, published October 28, 1997 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected]