A favorite target of the political right is the EPA. Just yesterday in a hearing with the EPA administrator, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said:
Sessions: When we go to our states, the group we have the most complaints about from our constituents — whether it’s highway people, whether it’s farmers, whether it’s energy people — is the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s an [agency of] extraordinary overreach. And you apparently are unaware of the pushback that’s occurring in the real world.
Of course many businesses dislike the EPA. It’s an agency made to primarily say, “No!” In this case, no is a good thing.
Wikipedia summarizes some of the changes to what we breath from 1970 to 2006:
- carbon monoxide emissions fell from 197 million tons to 89 million tons
- nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons
- sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 31 million tons to 15 million tons
- particulate emissions fell by 80%
- lead emissions fell by more than 98%
As a kid growing up in Queens I watched soot from dozens of chimneys as the apartment buildings in my neighborhood burned their trash every afternoon. Today we’d be shocked. Then, it was standard operating procedures.
Here in SoCal pollution was so bad it was a national joke. The photo at the top of this entry is Downtown Los Angeles in the 70s. Nearby mountains disappeared in a brownish haze.
Our air still needs help, but the trend is in the right direction. Today, much of SoCal’s 21st Century pollution actually floats over the Pacific from China and the rest of industrialized Asia.
It costs more money to keep emissions down. In business that cost comes directly from profits. No wonder business hates the EPA.
But, do we really want to be China?