The Corner

Regulations in Perpetuity

A good example of the scientization of politics I was talking about yesterday comes in a new court ruling that says that the EPA should set safety standards now for Yucca Mountain not just for 10,000 years, like EPA proposed, but for up to a million years. The court did this because Congress passed the buck to the National Academy of Sciences, who apparently decided to ignore the fact that we have gone from the early neolithic to the nuclear age in the past 10,000 years and recommended that regulations target the period of greatest radioactivity, which will occur in the very distant future. Now common law recognizes that things change and therefore bans contracts in perpetuity. Our technocratic scientists, apparently, are not so enlightened. As a result of the scientization of this problem we now have regulations in perpetuity.

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