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Environmental Protection: Shouldn't It Be for Future Generations?
The modern environmental movement has a problem: It seems increasingly anti-people.
Consider: Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, for which environmentalists ardently lobby, indirectly kill several thousand Americans per year, according to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Consider: The environmentalist-supported ban on DDT has indirectly caused the death of over one million people per year by eliminating one of the most cost-effective means of combatting the spread of malaria. In sub-Saharan Africa, one in 20 children dies of malaria.
Consider: Environmentalists commonly oppose genetic modifications to plants, yet agricultural biotechnology can increase Third World agricultural productivity by 25% and fortify rice, wheat and corn with extra Vitamin A. Bioengineering can reduce the amount of saturated fats in foods, and increase nutrients, and it can reduce allergens in foods.
Millions of children worldwide suffer from Vitamin A deficiency,
some of whom go blind as a result. Food allergies are the cause
of 2,500 emergency room visits and 135 deaths annually in the
U.S. One to three percent of older children and adults suffer
from food allergies, as do five to eight percent of infants and
Consider: An environmentalist tactic of increasing notoriety is "monkeywrenching" -- the use of sabotage, including potentially dangerous techniques, such as tree-spiking. The environmental organization Earth First!, which has spread the word about monkeywrenching, officially does not endorse such techniques -- but it has also discussed them without condemning them, saying "the Earth First! movement officially neither advocates nor condemns monkeywrenching."
Consider: Vasectomies by childless men is the a trend among some environmentalists, says the San Francisco Chronicle, which reports that "in certain 'green' circles, sterilization seems almost commonplace."
Most Americans think we are protecting the environment for the use and enjoyment of future generations. They don't realize that some environmentalists apparently believe the only good environment is one without any humans in it.
-by Amy Ridenour. Amy Ridenour is president of The National Center for Public Policy Research
A University of North Texas (UNT) study just released says the Clinton Administration EPA's interpretations of New Source Review (NSR) regulations for power plants would have a costly effect on rural areas. These interpretations are being challenged in court. The Bush Administration has not yet decided whether to suggest changes to them.
In the past, installation of new pollution control equipment was not required during routine maintenance on power plants. However, the EPA in 1999 changed the definition of "maintenance" to greatly increase the number of plants that are required to install this equipment. Because more coal-fired power plants are in rural America, this added cost to power companies places a greater burden on the already struggling rural economy.
"Rural America is probably in the direst economic straits since the Great Depression," says the report. "Rising electricity costs due to compliance with the EPA's new interpretation of NSR requirements will likely fall disproportionately on rural businesses and households, especially those with the least financial ability to pay higher utility rates. This will add to the disincentives of rural living and may well contribute to the already accelerating loss of population, family farms, and home-based business in many rural areas of the United States."
President Bush should heed the findings from this study and put common sense rules in place to maintain clean air without raising electricity prices and putting people out of work.
While the U.S. is still trying to recover from a slowdown in the economy we do not need to burden power companies with regulations that will raise electric rates and cause job layoffs. What we need is common sense clean air rules and not punitive ones that don't achieve their goals.
"In the debate over NSR not much attention has been paid to the impact on rural communities," said Bernard Weinstein, director of UNT's Center for Economic Development and Research and one of the report's authors, as quoted by E&E News. "Most of rural America is already facing hard economic times, and this is just another disincentive for living, manufacturing or relocating to rural America."
by Gretchen Randall. Gretchen Randall is
director of the John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental
and Regulatory Affairs at The National Center for Public Policy