When is it ever okay for cars, industries, etc. to pollute air (as they do)?

It is impossible to not air-pollute. Think about it. How would it be possible to have even some of the things that life offers without the polluting of our air? It wouldn’t be. But, the key is, if pollution cannot be completely avoided, then there should be as little pollution as possible. And, hence the reason for the exercised regulatory control over atmosphere that there is.

What we know air pollution can and does do

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been telling us that, in the world, six-and-a-half million people are yearly dying early from air pollution’s effects.

The WHO, et al., have been providing evidence of what effect air pollution has on lives. It’s an oft-repeated refrain.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (known more familiarly as COPD), stroke, ischaemic heart disease and heart attack, asthma, cough, brain damage and cancer; the more common of the afflictions, maladies, symptoms.

Headlines

“EPA poised to scrap fuel economy targets that are key to curbing global warming – setting up clash with California” (Los Angeles Times) and “E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient” (New York Times).

Those two headlines are tied to the car side of things, obviously.

And, as to the matter of industry?

Current events

Check out this from Earthjustice.

“Environmental Groups Sue to Stop EPA Loophole Allowing Industrial Plants to Turn Off Pollution Controls: The new loophole will exacerbate toxic pollution hazards in communities across the country,” the title and subtitle respectively of a Mar. 26, 2018 Earthjustice press release.

Earthjustice explains:

“Since it was enacted in 1990, the Clean Air Act has required all ‘major’ sources of hazardous air pollutants to reduce their hazardous emissions by the maximum achievable amount. Virtually every major industry — chemical plants, refineries, lead smelters, paper mills, etc. — has been meeting these requirements for years. EPA’s new action, a 4-page memorandum rushed out without notice or opportunity for public comment, or analysis of air pollution and public health impacts, will change all that.

“By virtue of meeting the Clean Air Act’s requirements, thousands of major polluters across the country will be eligible to stop meeting these requirements. Under EPA’s new rule, they will be able to turn down, turn off, or disconnect their pollution controls and double, triple, or even quadruple their toxic emissions. They will also no longer have to monitor their emissions or accurately report them.”

This certainly has the appearance that the years of progress made in the area of air cleanup, will not just be undone but be for naught. (Makes you wonder how the name the Environmental Protection Agency is any longer both a representative and valid title).

It would follow then that a lawsuit in a federal court would be filed and in swift response and it has been.

As also pointed out on March 26, 2018 in the same release, filing the lawsuit are both environmental and public health organizations. The legal action that has been initiated, apparently, is in response as a means “to protect communities against the risk of a new tidal wave of toxic pollution unleashed by the Trump administration breaking with decades of precedent,” and as well, presumably, because, as Earthjustice puts it, “the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has vastly expanded a loophole that allows major industrial polluters to turn off their pollution control equipment and pump tons of additional lead, chromium and other hazardous air pollutants into surrounding neighborhoods,” as I understand matters.

Earthjustice, meanwhile, in the release went on to write: “A report released today by The Environmental Integrity Project examined 12 large industrial facilities in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota and concluded that the regulatory rollback could allow them to release more than four times more toxic air pollutants — such as lead and benzene — than they do today, with the total rising from 121,082 pounds a year today to 540,000 pounds annually.”

Sad.

So, tell me again: This helps humankind, how?

Images: Clean Air Revival (upper); Wikimedia Commons (lower)

This post has been updated.

Leave a Comment