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GUEST COMMENTARY: Let the EPA enforce the Clean Air Act

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 10:53 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Big oil and dirty coal are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to stop Congress from passing new clean-energy legislation, and now they are trying to gut one of our nation's most important environmental laws, the Clean Air Act.  

Just last month, President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency moved to enforce the Clean Air Act. The EPA declared that global-warming pollution endangers human health and welfare and announced plans to limit emissions from the biggest polluters. Now this plan is under attack in Congress by Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and other friends of big coal and oil, and faces a crucial vote in mid-January.

Sen. Murkowski wants to bail out big polluters by blocking Obama and the EPA from taking action to limit emissions. She is proposing an amendment to the Senate’s national debt ceiling bill — an amendment that would dismantle the Clean Air Act and put the public's health and safety at risk to global warming. Her “Dirty Air Act of 2010” would block EPA from limiting CO2 emissions.

After years of research, scientific debate, court cases, public hearings and comments, Sen. Murkowski is suggesting that we simply choose to "unlearn" that global warming is happening and that it will be dangerous to human health and welfare.

EPA is merely doing what the Clean Air Act already requires — and what it was ordered to do almost three years ago by the Supreme Court.  And last month, more than 400,000 Americans submitted comments in favor of EPA’s proposal to limit pollution from the biggest global-warming polluters — among the highest number of comments ever submitted in favor of any proposal.

EPA plans to limit the new common-sense, economically feasible regulations to only the largest polluters.  Suggestions that EPA plans to regulate farms, schools, hospitals, cows and Dunkin' Donuts are simply false — EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said as much on numerous occasions. Those statements attempting to scare small businesses are merely misleading smears designed to derail any limits on polluters.

Sen. Murkowski may say her amendment is just a one-year timeout, but we've already had a nearly decade-long "timeout" as pundits for big oil and coal had their way. The clean-energy economy and action to curb global warming can no longer be held hostage by petty politics and partisan obstructionism. We can't choose to deny that this pollution is harmful any longer.

Instead of looking for ways to delay action, Congress needs to finalize comprehensive clean-energy and climate legislation as soon possible.  Missouri’s senators must say no to this fast-approaching amendment blocking EPA action on global-warming emissions from the largest polluters.  More important, it is time Missouri’s senators strongly support clean-energy and climate legislation that will mean less pollution, new industries, more jobs and greater security right here at home.

Melissa K. Hope is the associate regional representative for the Sierra Club. She lives in Jefferson City.


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Comments

Rich Matarese January 14, 2010 | 12:33 a.m.

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Let it be understood that there is no significant anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. The very mild trend in planetary surface temperature increase since the close of the Little Ice Age has been steady and of no significance, with absolutely no evidence of "forcing" as the result of observed increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations due to industrial activities, including the combustion of fossil fuels.

The AGW hypothesis was an error when it was first advanced in the '80s. It became a hoax in the '90s, and since 1998 (when global temperatures began to DROP) it's been a flagrant criminal fraud.

Empirical evidence advanced in the past several years has proven especially effective in debunking the AGW fraud, and reference is drawn to information sources which Ms. Hope and the Sierra Club emphatically do not want you to access.

I include:

1) http://climateaudit.org/

2) http://www.climatedepot.com/

3) http://wattsupwiththat.com/

4) http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming/...

5) http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Clim...

Take heart, readers. Human-caused global warming hasn't happened, isn't happening, and won't be happening. In fact, significant adverse global cooling is expected as the result of astrophysical phenomena completely beyond human control.

Time to find and develop those fossil fuel resources, and to thank whatever powers in which you believe for the "Big oil and dirty coal" folks whom Ms. Hope hates so rabidly.

--

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice January 14, 2010 | 2:55 p.m.

The "sources" that Mr. Matarese cites as his "empirical evidence" are partisan and devoted to attempting to debunk AGW.

Matarese's denials of the existence of real scientific evidence for AGW are as fallacious as his ad-hominem attack on this editoral's author.

(Report Comment)
Don Rogers January 14, 2010 | 11:14 p.m.

Maybe if we are going to editorialize on Science we should at least consider the Scientific Method.

Mr. Rice should not cry about partisanship when he is being partisan. Where is the science Sir? No one cares about your opinions. Show us the science.

There is not one shred of science or empirical evidence to support anthropogenic global warming. Just theories based on computer models that are fixed to present the desired results.

Oh yeah, why don't they just release all the evidence. What happened to peer review anyway?

Let's get back to real science and quit the claptrap.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 15, 2010 | 9:00 a.m.

Climate change should absolutely not be a political football, as it is proving to be here.

At this point, there are no absolutes. There are theories, models, and predictions, and all have their share of supporters and detractors. Even in evidence-based laboratory science, there can always be controversy about what various sets of experiments actually show.

However, since fossil fuels are finite, and it will take a century or more to revamp the world's energy systems to use renewables, it makes a lot of sense to start now, whether you believe in AGW or not.

Saying there is not a shred of evidence for AGW is as wrong as saying that the science is completely settled in favor of it. This is not a black and white issue, and it does humanity a disservice to treat it as such.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 15, 2010 | 4:30 p.m.

I absolutely agree with Mark Foecking.

Meanwhile, here is an interesting bit of news, found in American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 89, No.1, page 13.

Ceramic spheres to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions

Scientists in Brazil say they have developed a technique for absorbing industry-produced carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere. Half centimeter ceramic spheres were developed in the chemistry department of the Federal University of Minas [mines],Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

The inventors believe this is the best method for capturing carbon dioxide because the ceramic spheres absorb and neutralize the carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere.

[The inventors]... are keeping the composition of the spheres secret while seeking a patent.

The spheres absorb 40 percent of the carbon dioxide gas that comes in contact with them; the researchers hope to increase absorption to 60 percent.

Another advantage ... is that when each sphere becomes saturated with carbon dioxide it can be reused for other purposes, for example as a raw material in the chemical, plastic or textile industries.

Each kilogram of material in the spheres can absorb up to 500 grams of carbon dioxide.

A primary use for the spheres could be in stack exhausts where steel, coke and cement are produced.

(Report Comment)

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