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Simplicity and the Clean Air Act

December 26, 2013

Clean Air Act and SimplicityThe reason things are still complicated is that we do not fully understand them.  Once we fully understand them . . . they will become simple.

It fascinates me how Einstein and other brilliant minds throughout the centuries have been absolutely obsessed with simplicity.  As Einstein said, “When the solution is simple, God is answering.”  Einstein’s breakthrough in the theory of relativity came not from adding additional complexity to the mathematical equation, but from simplification.  When other scientists were racking their brains trying to calculate aether using the Lorentz transformation, Einstein had the gall to ask “why calculate it?”—and dropped aether from the equation.  The theory of special relativity was born.  Shocking.  Absolutely brilliant. 

Einstein in fact was so obsessed with simplicity that he spent the last 30 years of his life in relative obscurity trying to simplify the rules that govern the universe into one unified theory.  Einstein believed that “God does not play dice with the universe”—and that nothing happened by chance.  Disappointment plagued Einstein throughout the latter years of his life, but he could not let go of his belief that there was one simple answer to everything.  Even on his death bed he was scribbling mathematical calculations that would unite the theories of gravitation and electromagnetism.

Fascinating.  Makes you wonder what treasures we might discover if we tried to simplify the Clean Air Act.

——–“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” —Steve Jobs

The world is changing.  We must change with it.  Time to transform the SIP process.  We can make it happen.

Comments on the Clean Air Act

  • I hate that each sector has 17 to 20 rules that govern each piece of equipment and you’ve got to be a neuroscientist to figure it out”. –Gina McCarthy, U.S. EPA Administrator
  • “The Clean Air Act is a model of redundancy.  Virtually every type of pollutant is regulated by not one but several overlapping provisions.”  – Ben Lieberman
  • “The Clean Air Act is a lengthy and complex federal law” –Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • “The federal Clean Air Act (CAA) alone has been referred to as the most complicated statute in history. The statutory complexity is compounded by the thousands of pages of federal regulations and the overlapping statutes and regulations adopted by each individual state.” –Erich Brich writing for the American Bar Association
  • “The Clean Air Act – one of the most complex and extensive pieces of federal environmental legislation.” –Center on Congress—Indiana University  
  • “The Clean Air Act is complicated and contentious”. —Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
  • “The Clean Air Act (CAA) is a comprehensive and complex piece of environmental legislation”. – NASDA
  • “The law is long and complicated”. —Andrew Restuccia 
  • “The statute and its regulatory offshoots are very complicated.”  —U.S. Department of Justice

Other Comments on Simplicity

  • “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”  —-Hans Hofmann
  • “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” ―Henry David Thoreau
  • “There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.” ― Leo Tolstoy
  •  “Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” – Isaac Newton
  • “The simplest things are often the truest.” — Richard Bach

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