Every once in a while, one of our political parties completely loses its mind on an issue.¬† This isn’t a purely Republican or Democrat trait: both parties are equally capable of crusading against the best interest of our country if they feel like their base constituents will buy into¬†an argument and help them get reelected.¬† We live in an age where¬†”Public Service,”¬†as defined by¬†politicians,¬†only really¬†means the best way¬†the public can serve an elected official by helping them hold on to power.
And so it is now with the current political¬†march to destroy the EPA.¬† I’m not really sure why the EPA has been targeted.¬† It’s definitely not a perfect government entity.¬† It has made mistakes in the past and will make more in the future.¬† But what organization run by mankind is ever perfect?¬† I guess¬†eliminating the EPA¬†just fits¬†a world view¬†which believes that all of the¬†nation’s ills will simply vanish if we’d¬†only eliminate government from our lives.¬† The argument sounds great.¬† We are Americans.¬† We are free.¬† We decide our destiny.¬† Who wants the government telling us how to live?¬† But unless you exist¬†in a 1950′s TV show, where everyone¬†usually tries to do the right thing, and the white-hatted¬†hero always wins against great odds, we need government to protect the rights of the small and weak against the unbridled desires of the big and powerful.¬† And we need the EPA.
Before the EPA, states decided how best to regulate their environments.¬† Many politicians today, who apparently never opened a history book, believe that we should return to that golden age.¬† After all, it was this system¬†that allowed so much pollution to enter Ohio’s Cuyahoga River that the water actually caught fire.¬† But this is America, and if our water catches fire then I guess it means that we just have the toughest, most exceptional water in the world.¬† U.S.A.! ¬†U.S.A.! ¬†U.S.A.!
The EPA is now center-stage in what has become a political firestorm over clean water, the environment, and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas¬†in the small community of Dimock, PA.¬†¬† The EPA is currently investigating claims that some of Dimock’s water-wells are now toxic because of fracking.¬† It has been well documented that Pennsylvania’s Governor, Tom Corbett, has received millions in campaign donations from the fracking lobby.¬† In PA, he is the boss, and it should come as no surprise that Pennsylvania’s DEP says the water is fine in Dimock.¬† If there were no EPA, where would the small, weak community of Dimock turn to fight the powerful Governor and the big gas and oil lobby?
The links below discuss the fight that continues to rage in Dimock:
Make sure to watch the video in this link for more information
By the way, if the water in Dimock¬†really is fine, and not laced with fracking chemicals, then why would Cabot Oil & Gas¬†care if the EPA tests the water?¬† If I owned a fracking company, and I knew that¬†I had done nothing wrong, I would want the water tested, every day, and I would make sure the world knew what a wonderful, clean company I was running.¬† But you can’t¬†purchase the EPA with campaign donations, and I guess the uncertainty of the unbuyable¬†truth¬†is making¬†Cabot a little nervous.
There was some little-publicized news in recent days that showcased the¬†government’s power for making our country a better, cleaner, healthier¬†place to live.¬† The article excerpts and links below discuss the reduction of acid rain through regulations enacted by Congress in the 1990′s.¬† This is great news for our waterways and forests, and it would never have happened if we let the states solely regulate their pollution.
Excerpts from the article¬† By James Drake
In 1990, Congress passed Clean Air Act Amendments. Under Title IV, or the Acid Rain Program, it mandated substantial reductions in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants that use fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil.
In a report to Congress earlier this month, coming from the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, ‚Äúmeasurable improvements‚ÄĚ have been made in air quality, visibility and human health plus the water quality in many acid-sensitive lakes and streams has gotten better because of emissions reductions from electricity generating power plants.
Read the rest of the story here:
Below is the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program Report to Congress 2011 as posted on the USGS web page:
Acid rain remains a problem, and parts of America¬†such as¬†New York’s Adirondack Mountains are still suffering from the effects.¬† But this report hearkens back to a time when politicians occasionally did the right thing for the country, not because John Boehner or Barack Obama told them to, but because it was the right thing to do.¬† Who would have thought the early¬†1990′s were such a¬†magical utopia?¬† Maybe I should try to re-grow my mullet.