Governments at all levels have enthusiastically jumped on the green bandwagon. Government intervention done in the name of saving the planet from environmental destruction usually comes in the form of product bans or mandates that place restrictions on the purchase or use of products commonly used by consumers on a daily basis.

Government’s green intervention often causes more problems than it solves. Nowhere is this more evident than in San Francisco, where the city council has mandated low-flush toilets. According to an article appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle, low-flush toilets have literally caused a big stink. The lack of water from low-flush toilets has caused sludge to back up in sewer pipes, resulting in a rotten-egg stench in various areas in the city. To combat the problem the city has poured 8.5 million pounds of bleach down the drain at a cost of $14 million to tax payers.

In recent years Americans have been subject to an onslaught of government mandates that include the type of light bulbs we can use, what dish detergent is acceptable and how much ethanol that we put into the gas tanks of our cars. Government’s attempt to control every aspect of Americans’ lives seldom turns out the way government officials envision. Most government officials in mandating environmental requirements act out of ideological or political motivations and either lack the technical expertise to understand the ramifications of their actions or do not care.

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Michigan officials should take a time out on any new environmental mandates until we fully understand the unintended consequences of new requirements. Gov. Rick Snyder should reinstate the Michigan Environmental Science Board that operated during Gov. Engler’s Administration. The Michigan Science Board served a valuable function in bringing technical and scientific analysis to environmental issues.


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