Monday, July 12, 2010
EPA Goes Ape Over Power Plant Emissions
By Alan Caruba
Not a day goes by without our being told that something is going to kill us. Much of what kills people is genetic; little time bombs in our DNA that determine the state of our health.
Anyone who reads the daily obituaries knows that Americans are living longer than any previous generation. Most of the population is dying of nothing more sinister than old age.
The diseases that kill Americans have been quantified and known for decades. At the top of the list is heart disease, followed by a variety of different kinds of cancers. Third in line are strokes. Chronic lower respiratory diseases such as asthma are next, but nothing more than accidents kill as many people.
The remaining factors include diabetes, Alzheimer’s, pneumonia, nephritis (kidney diseases), and septicemia, a disease of the blood.
What do Americans really die from? Genetic dispositions to illness. Accidents. Poor diets. And bad lifestyle choices that include smoking, drinking, and taking illegal drugs.
With the exception of asthma that affects about seven percent of the population none of this has anything to do with air quality. Indeed, the causes of asthma remain somewhat shrouded in mystery even if the symptoms do not.
None of this empirical knowledge and data has the slightest effect, however, on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Lung Association that profits greatly from any claims about air quality. Both are inclined to making wild claims.
In early July, the EPA announced proposed cuts in “pollution from power plants in 31 states and D.C.” This is not about air quality. It is part of the long-term attack on all sources of power in America, but most particularly the coal-fired plants that provide just over fifty percent of all the electricity on which Americans depend for everything!
Depriving Americans of electricity would trigger a tsunami of deaths in the form of heat stroke in the summer months or freezing in the cold of winter. That, however, is the actual objective of the EPA and the many environmental organizations that wage ceaseless propaganda campaigns and endless law suits whose sole purpose is to deprive Americans of this vital source of power.
The EPA claims that infinitesimal particulates from power plant emissions, specifically sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) “harms the health of people “living downwind” of power plants. They propose reducing such emissions by 71 percent over 2005 levels of SO2 and fifty-two percent of NOx.
This is in line with the crazed and fraudulent claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) is causing global warming and thus requires the huge tax on energy sources, the Cap-and-Trade Act making its way through Congress.
The claims are the typical exaggerations of all proposed government regulations. The EPA claims that their latest action would yield “more than $120 billion in annual health benefits in 2014, including avoiding an estimated 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths, 23,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 240,000 aggravated asthma, and 1.9 million days when people miss school or work due to ozone-and-particle pollution-related symptoms.”
There’s a very impolite word to describe these kinds of statistics.
They are the same kind of statistics the Obama administration has been conjuring while it blew through a trillion dollar “stimulus” program with no real effect on the economy. These are the same kind of vacuous statistics behind the promise of new jobs, the takeover of healthcare, one-sixth of the nation’s economy, the takeover of the auto industry, et cetera!
Everyone wants clean air. The effort to achieve it began over three decades ago and it has been a success at the same time the U.S. gross domestic product increased 156 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 143 percent, energy consumption increased 45 percent, and the population increased 36 percent.
Cracking down on coal-fired plants is a political act. It has no relation whatever to any need to reduce particulates for the general population.
When the American Lung Association talks of preventing “tens of thousands of premature deaths each year” it is engaged in the worst kind of exaggeration and fear-mongering.
Because Americans are rightly concerned with issues involving jobs, mortgages, auto payments, and all the real threats to their well-being, the EPA knows it can sneak through draconian regulations that, in normal times, would be and should be stopped in their tracks.
The EPA and environmental organizations are the enemy of economic recovery. They are the true cancer on the body politic.
© Alan Caruba, 2010