American Elephants

The EPA Wants to Regulate More, Claims Unprovable Benefits. by The Elephant's Child


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims to have reduced six common air pollutants by 72% since 1970. The EPA claims that with these reductions they have achieved meaningful public-health benefits, from improved respiratory health  to increased life expectancy.

Naturally, the agency wants to prolong their usefulness. If they can’t keep officially improving American health and well-being, then we might dispose of the agency. The question now is whether further decreases in air pollution to levels that approach those that occur naturally will result in additional public health benefits?

Is the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone sufficient to protect public health? Ozone is a colorless, odorless gas that is not directly released into the air, but is formed when sunlight reacts with two other pollutants: volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. These come from many natural sources (plants, forest fires) as well as human-caused sources (cars, industrial facilities, power plants).

There is a Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, a panel of scientists and public-health  experts charged by Congress with advising the EPA. They met in March to study the agency’s evaluation of the link between ozone and respiratory illnesses such as asthma and other health issues.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was forced to reveal to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that the agency neither possesses, nor can produce all of the scientific data used to justify the rules and regulations they have imposed on Americans under the Clean Air Act. I do not know if Ms. McCarthy informed the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of that problem — that they have no scientific foundation for their assertions about what they are claiming about asthma and other health problems. They no longer have the studies that they once relied on, and those studies have been superseded by more recent studies that refute the data on which the EPA relies.

There was a huge flap about holes in the ozone layer a number of years ago, holes that occur naturally at certain times of the year, and because of that they removed effective asthma inhalers from the marketplace and replaced them with far less effective ones. The government told us never to eat butter. Bad. Now butter is fine again. Eggs—never eat eggs, cholesterol. Now we are reduced to little ads at the bottom of each web page telling us “never eat this one food.” I do not believe the pronouncements of the ‘experts’ in government. I do not believe they are experts nor do they know what they are talking about.

Currently the EPA standard for ozone in the air is 75 parts per billion, the strictest level since the standard was established in 1971. In 2008 the EPA determined, and a federal court agreed, that this standard protects public health. But now the EPA says that 75 ppb is not protective enough and is recommending a change to between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. Meanwhile, the overwhelming body of scientific evidence indicates lowering the current ozone standard will not provide added health benefits beyond those achieved with the current standard.

There have been hundreds of scientific studies on ozone exposure and possible health effects, and the EPA has reviewed most of them. However, the EPA has not evaluated them in systematic fashion, by considering study strengths and limitations in a consistent manner from study to study. This type of analysis is called a “weight-of-evidence” evaluation, and it can help prevent the cherry-picking of studies—which can occur when scientists focus on studies or evaluate data that confirm their position, or when the scientists place less emphasis on studies that do not.

Most studies examining connections between ozone and health effects do not adequately account for smoking or other factors such as diet and exercise that could contribute to diseases attributed to ozone. By not fully considering these other factors, the EPA assumes that ozone causes more health effects than what the science supports.

I’m not at all sure that the EPA  has any valid accomplishments. So many of their claims just don’t pan out. Ethanol requirements have brought us vast inflation in the cost of food and other merchandise, and been worse for the environment than the gasoline they replaced. Endangered species turned out to not be endangered, the lightbulbs they outlawed gave much better light, wind and solar are not a replacement for cheap reliable coal-fired power plants that power a creative and entrepreneurial society. And they have no business having a SWAT team.

The EPA Is At It Again! Environmental Zealotry In Pursuit of Power. by The Elephant's Child

The EPA is at it again. Having little to do that is useful, the EPA has gone after “fine particles” under the theory that anything in the air should be removed. A while back they were talking about regulating farm dust, but were essentially laughed out of town. Now they have turned to wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts in the United States.

About 12 percent of American homes use wood stoves for heat. They are more common in rural areas. Again, the EPA is attempting to reduce “particle pollution” with new rules. Instead of limiting fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 micrograms. That’s equivalent to a person smoking 3 to 4 cigarettes in a small confined space. The draconian EPA regulations will be spread out beginning in March and the rest in five to eight years. Stoves currently in use will not be affected yet, but getting them repaired will become more difficult.

Fireplaces are not yet included, but are being looked at. They are part of future research. Environmental zealots recognize no boundaries for their zealotry and control. Consider barbecues and fire pits. Forced air furnaces will also face drastic cuts and are headed for extinction over the next five years unless they can meet  near-impossible limits to their emissions.

The EPA is in pursuit of pure air. They are generous about making up statistics about how many people will die if exposed to a certain “pollutant.” Asthma has been one of their favorites. Physicians don’t know what causes asthma, so the EPA feels free to list statistical numbers of future asthma deaths.

Regulations like these are forced through with fake lawsuits through a corrupt scheme known as “sue and settle.” This allows the EPA more freedom in advancing harsh regulations on the public. According to Senator David Vitter (R-LA) this is how it works:

A far-left environmental group sues a federal department or agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that the government is not satisfying its regulatory obligations. Then, after the group and the EPA plan and discuss the matter – without the involvement of any others, including affected business, landowners, and state and local governments – they draft a settlement agreement committing the agency to regulate a certain sector of the economy or type of private property. All that’s left is to get the presiding judge to bless their friendly agreement.

There’s even a bonus prize in this scheme. Because such a settlement is counted as a “win” for the environmental group plaintiff, that suing group is awarded all of its costs and attorney’s fees, creating a revolving fund for its continuing activity, courtesy of our wallets.

Thus the left, including the Obama Administration, advances its aggressive environmental agenda. No need for messy Congressional hearings or opposing arguments.

During the first term of the Obama Administration, the EPA entered into more than 60 “sue and settle” agreements with environmental allies, including 34 lawsuits by the Sierra Club, 20 by WildEarth Guardians and 9 from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

One of the most successful on the EPA’s part, and most damaging to states are the “regional haze requirements under the Clean Air Act,” which are costing states hundreds of millions of dollars. Other regulations imposed by “sue and settle” chicanery are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and anything to do with coal.

The aim of the EPA seems to be control and power. Environmental zealots range from those who want no one messing up their enjoyment of the outdoors to those who would prefer to turn the earth back to a more pristine age, preferably without annoying humans.

(h/t: The Independent Sentinel)

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