In their opinion editorial from this past Sunday – Blowin’ in the wind: An appeals court stymies the cause of clean air – the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette discusses their view of the implications of the of recent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling striking down the “Cross State Air Pollution Rule”, one of the cornerstones of the Obama Administration’s war on coal.
The piece concludes with this statement – – “ordinary American’s lungs must breathe the best air that the political and legal system allows – and that won’t be improving any time soon.”
Has Pittsburgh’s environment not improved dramatically in recent decades? Through existing law and current and future investments in clean coal technology; air quality is continuing to improve. For instance, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection states that since 2000, the Pennsylvania utility industry has cut SO2 emissions by 67% and NOx emissions by 54% – just don’t tell that to the environmental movement – doesn’t quite fit the narrative they’re going for.
The op-ed also claims that the CASPR rule would have “prevented 34,000 premature deaths” – more flimsy data that has been distributed widely by those who seek nothing more than an effective public scare tactic to justify EPA’s war on coal.
Further, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that emissions of all major air pollutants have decreased nationally since 1970. Between 1980 and 2006, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 49 percent, with lead emissions decreasing by 98 percent. During this same time, gross domestic product increased 121 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 101 percent, energy consumption increased 29 percent, and the U.S. population grew by 32 percent – facts are very stubborn and these facts most certainly do not fit the desired political narrative.
Of course we need regulation, and U.S. energy producers should be held to the highest environmental and safety standards – and we are. Air quality, water quality, safety in the workplace – we are the envy of the world. So, clearly we can do it in a way that facilitates rather than discourages progress.
The D.C. court ruled that EPA’s transport rule ‘exceeds the agency’s statutory authority,’ offering yet another warning to all Pennsylvanians that President Obama’s EPA is an agency with a political agenda run out of control. It is imperative that the public keep in mind, when consuming information from mainstream media sources, that impartial statistics and common sense clearly demonstrate that continuous improvement has and will continue to occur in our region and across America – even in the absence of heavy-handed regulations coming out of Washington, DC.
We can have a clean environment and good jobs if we will reject the extremism and start promoting our region instead of seeking to frighten the populace into aligning with a misguided and dangerous political agenda that runs contrary to their own economic interests.