Monday, March 14, 2005

Let’s Make a Deal – Pick Your Level of Poison

The poor tread lightest on the earth. The higher our income, the more resources we control and the more havoc we wreak.
Paul Harrison, playwright

The Bush administration does not believe the environment is an important consideration, so this week it will allow companies to trade mercury pollution allowances. If you know something is bad and you know that companies are making strides in meeting pollution controls why would you lessen the rules?

According to the New York Times, Mercury, a commonplace of everyday life a generation ago found in home thermometers and school science labs, has in the past two decades been found to cause direct harm to the development of nervous systems in infants and young children. Infants have been exposed before birth to mercury consumed by their mothers, studies have shown.

The most common form of exposure is believed to be the consumption of fish - including tuna and swordfish - in which the metal has accumulated. From 1990 to 1999, total airborne emissions of mercury in the United States dropped from 209.6 tons to 113.2 tons, roughly 5 percent of worldwide manmade emissions. Mercury emissions from power plants are responsible for about 48 of the 113 tons. Even though large reductions in mercury emissions from municipal and medical waste incinerators and chemical factories have been achieved over the past decade, at least 44 states have issued advisories calling for limited consumption of fish from mercury-contaminated streams.

Felice Stadler, a mercury policy specialist at the National Wildlife Federation, was sharply critical when told on Sunday of the thrust of the new rule, saying that it was "the weakest air-toxics rule ever written for a major industry" by the E.P.A.

"This rule gives big energy companies an extra 10 years before being required to reduce their mercury air pollution," Ms. Stadler said. "To say we are disappointed is an understatement. This is an ill-conceived plan that puts the future of our children and natural places at risk."

I don’t understand how you can compromise on a known toxic substance. The only thing I can figure is that Texas, which is the highest polluting state, is having favors returned or called in. Either way will mean people will continue to suffer, and of course, this president has only disdain for the working class, so it all makes sense.

1 comment:

Chandira said...

A lot of things have stopped making sense to me when it comes to Bush and the environment.. I gave up trying to figure it out, but I won't give up trying to change it.