The State of Air Quality
The National Academy of Sciences has just released a report on Air Quality Management in the United States. The Academy is a non partisan organization, recognized by the United States Government, but not a part of it, that is often used to hash out policy differences and to present an unbiased examination of science and facts. This report represents a tremendous endorsement of President Bush's environmental policies. Amongst its five major recommendations are:
(1) Strengthening the science that underlies current environmental regulations.
To many regulations are based not upon any scientific principles, but rather on the well funded media relations operations of the major environmental groups. These groups, with their hundreds of millions of dollars annually in contributions have mastered the art of public deception. They employ scores of so called experts on the issues they project to raise the most funds from, and unleash brutal, personally destructive attacks on the reputations of scientists who dare to criticize their political agendas and the shaky science underlying it.
(2) Expand national emissions control systems by focusing on a technology neutral, market based regulations
This is exactly what the Bush Administration has been pushing. Clean the air, we don't care how you do it. By setting up a market based system where emissions credits can be sold like stock, their is a definite financial incentive to reducing your emissions. It worked beyond imagination with acid rain, and is the foundation of the Clear Skies program.
(3) Transform the SIPs
Under the current Clean Air Act, Congress has directed EPA to set air quality standards for six major pollutants, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, ground level ozone, lead, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide. How those standards are attained is largely up to the individual states who must submit State Implementation Plans showing EPA how they will meet them.
The Academy is recommending that in addition to this process, future efforts to control air pollution focus on what is known as the multi pollutant approach. That is, grouping various pollutants together and finding a cost effective method of reducing them as a group. Again, this was the basis of Clear Skies and is behind the Interstate Air Quality Rule and the Utility Mercury Reductions Rule, both of which were published in the Federal Register today (more on them later).
As much of a triumph as I believe this report is, I do have some concerns. First, the National Academy continues to advocate for further study of Climate Change gases. While I have no problem with further studies (beyond the fact that they are a multi million dollar boondoggle for scientists) since the sound ones all clearly show there is no evidence of anthropogenic climate change (which is different than climate change generally), the continual kowtowing to the Greens is growing rather nauseating.
Second, the Academy once again raises the specter of Environmental Justice. While I don’t think anyone should be forced to endure unnecessary levels of pollution, most industrial facilities don’t locate in poor areas. Rather, wherever they locate, a working class community will often pop up. See, its not too hard to understand. Working class people like to work. Hence, they live where there is work. If they lived where there wasn’t work, they wouldn’t be working. Of course, they could always decide to commute a farther distance from the facility, or work elsewhere, but they generally don’t. Since they moved to the so called nuisance, I don’t see why the facility should be penalized and of course, if it decides to produce its products in China, the working class people living around it will not be working class anymore – they will be in the welfare class and society will be far worse off.
Well, that’s enough for now. More to come later.