Year 2, Month 7, Day 14: Sustainable Exploitation Is The Way To Go!

The June 28 Times-Record (ME) has a good editorial, titled “What About High Cost Of Unhealthy Air?”

Yeah? What about it?

Actually, it isn’t “we, the people” who get stuck on the cost of keeping our air clean and healthy. Polls consistently show strong public support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to impose and enforce strict limits on air pollution. A new nationwide bipartisan survey, released on June 16 by the American Lung Association, includes these findings:

— 75 percent of voters support EPA setting stricter limits on smog.

— 65 percent said stricter limits on air pollution will not damage our economic recovery; in fact, 54 percent believe upgraded standards will create more, not fewer, jobs.

— 66 percent said the EPA should set pollution standards, not Congress.

And not only that, but:

In the House, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, successfully pushed through H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, in a 255-172 vote. Opponents renamed it the “Dirty Air Act,” which seems fair enough considering the bill would:

— Block EPA from cutting carbon dioxide and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industries. Opponents rightly point out that coal-fired plants are the largest single-source of global warming pollution in the U.S.

— Override the determination by EPA scientists that global warming pollution poses threats to public health and welfare. Opponents rightly challenge the notion that members of Congress are better informed about climate science than the EPA’s climate scientists.

— Block both the EPA and states from issuing new standards for cleaner vehicles after 2017. Opponents point out that these standards, as well as the 2012-2016 standards, help reduce our reliance on foreign oil and save motorists money at the gas pump.

In the Senate, Upton’s bill fell 10 votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster, but many of its provisions turned up in four amendments to an unrelated small business bill (S.493).

It’s a good piece, and triggered these rather testy words, sent June 28:

The ongoing struggle against environmental regulation by giant corporations and their captive politicians is positively surreal in its disregard for the best interests of America and the world. Representative Upton’s attempt to hobble the EPA is based on specious rationalizations, poor science, and a mindset that exalts maximum immediate return on investment and nothing else. But a healthy environment cannot be exploited endlessly; Earth is large, but finite, and the waste products of our industrialized culture have begun to overwhelm the planet’s handling capacity. “The Environment” is not a fictional construct respected only by hippies and scientists; it’s where all of us live. All of us, that is, except multinational corporations, which explains why they find environmental regulations so annoying. It’s not their air that’s unbreathable, or their water that’s increasingly befouled; it’s ours. And other than as a source of short-term profits, what use have they for us?

Warren Senders

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