Tuesday, February 15, 2005

From Carl Pope's "Strategic Ignorance"

Strategic Ignorance
p.24

In keeping with this Beltway machismo, the Bush administration has played fast and loose with the health of people unlucky enough to live near power plants or toxic industrial sites. More than 16,000 old and dirty power plants, petroleum refineries, chemical factories, and industrial facilities were permanently exempted from having to install modern pollution control technologies. Under Bush's so-called Clear Skies proposal, many communities would be subjected to four times more toxic mercury from coal-fired power plants than they would if the Clean Air Act were simply enforced. Property contaminated with highly toxic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can now be sold without any obligation for the seller to clean up. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware.

The president allowed his brother, Jeb Bush, to resume injecting untreated wastewater into Florida's drinking water aquifiers. The administration allowed hazardous waste to be "recycled" into fertilizer, which could be used on playgrounds, golf courses, and parks--and then decided that such waste-based fertilizers could be used to grow food as well.

8 comments:

gallimel said...

I might not post often under these posts but be assured I will often read all that you are gonna write in.
I find the entire structure and argumentations well pointed out. Though not always agreeing, I will follow you with big pleasure in this serious chapter of your blog realm :) Hugs :)

Lo said...

It's amazing how many folks don't realize that government regulation is one of the most dangerous things to happen to the environment; and that the free market is the best protector of said environment.

(On a similar and related note, folks still believe that the Great Depression occured despite the best efforts of the US government; and that it was ameliorated thanks to government efforts. This bass-ackward view is sadly prevalent.)

Bouncie said...

I think more accurately it is the extremes of gov't regulation and there lack of. I feel regulations on our national parks and other like hallmarks should be given. I'm open to other areas not being regulated, and removing 150 year old trees isn't one I'm particularly fond of. I find there to be something symbolic and of heritage quality about them. We have a recycling system in place. Why not utilize this and reduce are need of paper for the benefit of natural habitats?

I could be misinterpreting your position, but I get the sense there is no degree of information I could pull up that would show the Bush Administration is in fact the ones who are extremists on the environment. I mean if encouraging lawsuits on to ones own gov't, strategically appointing timber-friendly lobbyists, and hiring the Luntz group to develop PR-friendly environmental lipstick service, isn't blatant and unlawful in itself, than I have to assume this topic isn't worth debating over.

Lo said...

If one is that passionate about protecting old forests, then one should be able to purchase such land, or do so in collective with similarly minded folks. The government has no moral right to *own* land outright. That's going beyond the idea of government for, by, and of the people.

As for lobbyists: if you can't prove that the administration is directing its policy to favor specific companies, then we have only insinuation and circumstantial evidence.

Remember: it is precisely a situation of big government which most encourages special interest politics, and outright corruption. Think of it this way: logging companies *need* to lobby politicians to be successful on the market. To anyone who remotely cares about a healthy free market, that situation must be appalling.

The people are better caretakers of just about everything, the environment included, than the government. It is unwise and somewhat misanthropic to trust in government first.

Bouncie said...

"As for lobbyists: if you can't prove that the administration is directing its policy to favor specific companies, then we have only insinuation and circumstantial evidence."

I will have that information in a later post.

"If one is that passionate about protecting old forests, then one should be able to purchase such land, or do so in collective with similarly minded folks. The government has no moral right to *own* land outright. That's going beyond the idea of government for, by, and of the people."

Then that would be right in line with the logging industry logging national parks for their benefit while not hearing what the people have to say on the matter.

"Remember: it is precisely a situation of big government which most encourages special interest politics, and outright corruption."

It would seem the Bush Administration fits that description with first-term and Inaugural spending setting new records.

Lo said...

As I said earlier, if you care that much, feel free to try to buy the land by yourself, or in collective with others.

And why, pray tell, are you calling for more regulations, and at the same time complaining of excessive ependitures? You like big government, as long as it's not too expensive? ;) :P

Bouncie said...

Oops. Nevermind. I see what you're saying. Gov't regulation WOULD be a good thing providing the gov't actually represents the people. But because they seldom do, private ownership makes more sense.

Yup, you're right.

Lo said...

You've almost got it. :)

Government regulation never can represent the people; it can only represent the government.

I wish I had the exact quote, but a Founding Father once said something to the effect that the government can never, and should never, take away the right of the people to act according to their consciences.

The general public, in economic matters, is the best regulator of moral justice. No government can replace this function.
(This is why the US government has only two Constitutionally mandated functions: defend its citizens from physical and intellectual violence -- like fraud, robbery, or murder -- and deal with other sovereign governments. Protecting endangered albino tree slugs or whatever is not one of those functions. ;) )