Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Return of Leaded Gasoline?

According to this blurb, the Bush administration is considering doing away with health standards against cutting gas with lead.

"The Environmental Protection Agency said this week that revoking those standards might be justified "given the significantly changed circumstances since lead was listed in 1976" as an air pollutant, claiming that concentrations of lead in the air have dropped more than 90 percent in the past 2 1/2 decades."

So let me see if I can follow the chain of reasoning here:
  • Fact: High concentrations of lead in the air is recognized as a serious health concern.
  • Action: Laws and regulations are passed aiming to remove lead from the air.
  • Fact: The amount of lead in the air decreases dramatically.
  • Conclusion: Laws aimed at reducing concentrations of lead in the air should be removed.

It befuddles me how anyone could think this makes any sort of sense or is in the best interests of the citizens of the country who are basically being asked to breathe poison, because that's what is in the financial interest of certain industries.

Of course, this wouldn't be the first instance of the administration effectively castrating the intent of the Clean Air Act, by ending investigations facilities suspected in violating the law or expanding on loopholes in the law.

People should understand that this isn't just a global warming issue or something that only concerns tree-hugging hippies. I can understand how people might be able to convince themselves that global warming is not a man-made issue, but what I don't understand is how people can accept breathing air that is laced with toxins that are a well known source of several cancers and respiratory diseases, as something that is OK.

It is frustrating that people don't realize that environmentalism isn't (or at least, doesn't have to be) about sacrificing humanity or civilization in favor of endangered birds or a few acres of rain forest. It can be about living in such a way that we have a sustainable ecosystem that will be capable of supporting humans and human civilization for the decades and centuries to come. It can be about wanting to breathe air, drink water, and eat food that isn't loaded with dangerous chemicals.

You don't have to prescribe to the belief that we're on the brink of a The Day After Tomorrow-type catastrophe or the conviction that humans are less important than other animals to understand that there are powerful forces at work, lobbying the representatives (who are supposed to be representing you) who don't give half a shit about your quality of life and certainly don't give half a shit about the quality of life that will be experienced by future generations.

So please, when you hear news like this, don't just shrug your shoulders and figure that it doesn't matter. Find out where your representatives stand on the issue and if they stand against you, make your displeasure known.

1 comment:

toomanytribbles said...

go get'em tukka