Don’t Give A Hoot — Pollute!


W.J. Astore

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember environmental commercials featuring Woodsy the “anti-pollution owl” with the motto: “Give a hoot! Don’t pollute!”

Under the Trump administration, we need to modify that motto: “Don’t give a hoot.  Pollute!”

That’s the message of Trump’s new plan for powerplant emissions.  According to the EPA, this new plan may result in as many as 1,630 additional premature deaths annually by 2030, as reported by Bloomberg:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says its proposal to relax greenhouse gas limits on power plants will cause as many as 1,630 additional premature deaths annually by 2030 from heart and lung disease — an estimate independent experts say may be low.

The projection is contained in a 289-page technical document accompanying the agency’s proposal to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that was released Tuesday.

The new rule would give states more leeway to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from their power sectors — even though, by the agency’s own admission, that will result in higher levels of particulate matter and ozone being emitted by coal plants than would have occurred under President Barack Obama’s plan. That pollution is linked with respiratory infections, asthma and impaired lung function.

As my wife pointed out to me, Trump & friends aren’t worried about smog and pollution and respiratory discomfort.  They don’t live downwind from coal-fired plants.  Trump can always escape to one of his many resorts and golf courses around the world.

How cynical and callous do you have to be to suggest changes to environmental regulations that you know will kill lots of Americans in the future?

Making America great again?  No — It’s making America polluted again.  Woodsy the Owl is not happy, America.

Pages from 978-0-226-16990-3-web_img_0


5 thoughts on “Don’t Give A Hoot — Pollute!

  1. There is a word often ignored Externality – a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved.

    I witnessed Externalities when I worked in a steel mill in South Chicago back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The mill pumped it’s waste water directly into the Calumet River and was clearly visible. The toxic waste is still there lurking in the sediments, the steel mill is gone today, but the legacy lives on.

    There is another term – Risk Assessment or Cost Benefit Analysis. A price tag is placed on a human life and the cost of a regulation is weighed against a human life. There are cases where we can easily and directly measure this Risk Assessment or Cost Benefit Analysis, such as seat belts in cars as an example. Pollution is less obvious in the immediate term, except in the case of say a toxic spill in a river. Most rivers and some lakes today in the USA have some form of warning, i.e., a fish consumption advisory.

    Corporate America likes to separate Externalities, Risk Assessment or Cost Benefit Analysis, that way you never can come to grips with the full effects of the pollution.

    Coal is as good an example as any. There is the health cost to miner in the form of Black Lung, including the medical costs, and future disability payments. The family of the miner is left with out a bread winner. The extraction process results in toxic chemicals released into the environment, such as run off into streams. The combustion process releases toxins into the air. The coal ash needs to be disposed of. Coal is considered cheap. because all the costs of it are never totaled up or the damage done is difficult to assess. How do you place a value on a polluted stream or the aquifer??

    >>The new rule would give states more leeway to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from their power sectors.<> The executive committee of the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution last week stating that the party “gratefully acknowledges and will continue to welcome” political contributions from workers in the energy industry and their “employers’ political action committees.” Or, more simply, the DNC will continue to accept donations from companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Peabody Coal that are systematically burning down the planet. <<

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, ML. And thanks for the reminder that the DNC will happily accept money from major polluters. It’s not simply a party issue or a Left-Right issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I could never understand the (bad) economics of allowing pollution in the 1st place. Having lived in Connecticut 20+years, strangely the towns that rejected polluting factories (and W-A-L-M-A-R-T-S!) enjoy a higher property value today than the ones that allowed such crap in. Rarely will they show up without strong arming the towns taxpayers into expensive roads of access, tax breaks (for them!), ease of pollution laws. Of course that entails bribing town ole’ boys into compliance! Maybe they get a free retirement condo in Florida, but the town always loses.
    To me the only answer are strictly controlled industrial parks. Properly run residential towns are self sustaining, as could be properly managed industrial parks. No school systems folks!


  3. Allowing states “to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions” is absurd, to say the least. Pollution, of course, has no respect for borders, which, as we know, are simply political constructs.


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