Rules are made usually when someone does something that hurts another person or people. The American government makes rules so others do not get hurt. When the “someone” getting hurt is the environment, the government seems to care very little. A few politicians struggle to make environmental laws pass. Most just allow the other, more important, issues to take the front seat. However, some do go into effect. When the rules are broken, who is there to enforce these laws?
The story, “Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering,” by Charles Duhigg gives a disturbing detail of a case of when these rules were clearly not followed, nor made obligatory. It is the story of a family whose home water is contaminated with not just one, but several harmful substances. Duhigg points out that the Hall-Massey family is in a city area, which hits close to home for most readers.
It is not exactly clear if these “regulators” mentioned in the article are employed by the government or their own private party. However, it is irrelevant to the issue. If they are privately owned companies that should be regulating the practices of the water companies and they are not doing so, why is the government not regulating the regulators? They should be audited regularly. If they are private companies, then the government needs to cut out the middle man and do the dirty work themselves, whether it would be at a federal or state level. The people in this story are only one example of what can go wrong when the water laws are not followed. People have the right to live healthy lives, let alone the right to know the risk posed by licing in a certain area.
This is a reminder of the movie Erin Brockovich, the true story of a legal assistant fighting for clean water for residents of a smaller city than this one mentioned. There was an iconic moment during legal negotiations when Brockovich offered one of the company’s representatives a glass of water, then mentioned it was from one of their wells. They declined, showing the moral obligation they know they hold.