March 5, 2010

New Disease: "Carbon Dioxide Brain"

Carbon dioxide shall not be considered air pollution? Ya gotta be kidding! But's that's an actual sentence from recently introduced Virginia legislation, HB 1357, (Morefield, R).

The Clean Air Act is under attack, dear blog readers, and Virginia's air will not get much cleaner. 14 other states have similar pending legislation to overturn the EPA's statement that carbon dioxide is indeed a pollutant and should be regulated.  I guess that these legislators haven't inhaled near any coal-fired plants recently. It's indeed difficult when you have your head in the sand.

Then there's the record-breaking $154 million oil and gas companies spent in 2009, lobbying Congress to protect their billions in profits. Will we allow them to buy their way out of being held responsible for the pollution they create?

More questionable legislation: The Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club is urging Virginians to ask their state senator to vote “No” against HB 1300, (Kilgore, R) or what they call the Virginia Dirty Air Act. Under the current law, the Air Pollution Control Board can decide whether to require large polluters to make actual reductions in nitogen and sulphur pollutants or allow trading of pollution credits outside the community where the pollution is being generated. This bill would deny the Air Board the authority to require actual pollution reductions.

I am losing faith in many of our elected officials, both in state legislatures and in Congress. Politics must indeed interfere with the thought process. It's scare tactics out their wazoos. They just can't wrap their heads around the idea that regulating carbon dioxide can be GOOD for the economy by creating green jobs and new green technology.

And that's not all. Supreme Court Justices suffer from "Jurisdiction Definition Disorder."
Otherwise, they could understand that "navigable waters" means all streams and waterways that empty into bays, rivers, and oceans--PLUS any body of water that occasionally runs dry or is land-locked. But instead, the justices focused on language in the Clean Water Act that limited it to “the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters” of the United States. And then not so wisely (IMHO) rejected the decades old definition of “navigable waters” to include many large wetlands and streams that connected to major rivers.

The result of this decision? Thousands of the nation’s largest water polluters consider themselves outside the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act’s reach because the Supreme Court left uncertain which waterways are protected by that law. As I've written before, companies that have spilled oil, carcinogens, and dangerous bacteria into lakes, rivers and other waters are not being prosecuted, according to Environmental Protection Agency regulators, who estimate that more than 1,500 major pollution investigations have been discontinued or shelved in the last four years.

So the Clean Water Act is under attack too! The Chesapeake Bay will continue to be abused. And the drinking water for 117 million Americans is probably no longer under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Clean Water Act.