Letters to the Editor

Clean Air Act

July 27, 2010


To the editor:

There is only one certain way to stop oil spills such as the catastrophe currently destroying the Gulf of Mexico: We must end our addiction to oil. Under the Clean Air Act, we can reduce greenhouse pollution from coal-fired power and other sources immediately. Under the Clean Air Act, we can establish a national pollution cap for carbon and other greenhouse pollutants consistent with what science, rather than politics, dictates.

We need the Senate not to simply take action, but to take action that truly moves us toward an end to oil spills such as the disaster that continues to ravage the Gulf of Mexico. This means legislation that does not limit or delay Clean Air Act authority to reduce carbon pollution. While the effects of carbon pollution are not as obvious as tar balls on Gulf beaches, oiled wildlife and decimated fisheries and tourist economies, the long-term repercussions of greenhouse-gas pollution are equally devastating, and the solution is the same: End our reliance on fossil fuels.


mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

This is not going to 'destroy' the Gulf of Mexico. Temporarily damage, yes. There was similar fatalistic talk after the Exxon Valdez, which leaked a large amount of oil into a smaller and more enclosed area, which has recovered. Nature can and does repair itself. There is actually a type of sea bacteria that consumes oil.

Getting off oil is something everyone can agree on. Getting off it overnight as you seem to be saying would be very expensive....more expensive than our fragile economy can handle right now.

If Obama, and yes, Bush wouldn't have been so lax on regulating oil rigs this all could have been avoided. The required monthly inspections of the BP oil rig hadn't been done in months prior to this event. (Sorry obama faithful, barry has been in office long enough that he could have fixed this by now.)

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

Why would I 'lie" about that? Seems kind of pointless....(and you sound paranoid my friend.)

Instead of limiting your sources of propaganda to the Sierra Club and the like, use your own brain and do some research yourself....here's a place to start; do a search of "oil eating microbes"

There is no point in wasting my time with dueling websites; your radical environmental group says the coasts of Alaska are dead and will never bare life ... my scientific journal says they've made an amazing recovery ... your self-proclaimed 'environmental expert' says oil only leads to death and destruction ... my scientific institution report states that damage done by the oil spill has been reversed; and we've learned valuable things from it.

Do some reading. (Your computer is useful for things besides all-night sessions of World of Warcraft.) I await your apology.

barlowtl 7 years, 11 months ago

The spill in Alaska still has not recovered, just get a teaspoon and dig a few inches below the surface in the sand & you can still find remains of oil. Now BP is undertaking one of the most difficult areas in Alaska to drill. They are building an island of rock to circumvent the necessary safety regs for deep well drilling & will drill horizontal in a very hostile climate in a state where the oil pipe is deterioating rapidly from lack of upkeep & is springing leaks like an old garden hose. They refuse to let anyone near where they are drilling up there now, but we will find out sooner or later.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

We can only hope Obama has learned something from this, and existing regulations and inspections will be enforced.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago


But did I just hear a "right-wing" poster advocate for regulation and oversight of private companies by the government?

Jimo 7 years, 11 months ago

It won't matter who is in the majority. The Supreme Court has ruled that the government must act to limit greenhouse gases. The hope had been that Congress would pass some form of tax, which at least has the merit of allowing users to choose use or alternatives. Now, with that failed, the EPA will have to issue top-down regulations on industry.

You heard it here: very soon the energy companies will be back begging Congress to pay a tax rather than allow the regulation process to proceed.

By then the GOP will be, one hopes, past their "filibuster the economy to defeat the Dems" phase and realize that energy taxes fall mainly on the poor (hooray!). Once their corporate masters like BP give the Repubs marching orders, the tax should be in place with little difficulty.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh, if only the public trusted the government to do right with the money it would collect from a carbon tax.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 11 months ago

This is for folks who are interested in learning more about alternatives to either the special interest-laden Cap and Trade bill that just died or the looming EPA mandate to do it if Congress walks away from the issue:

There's a very interesting, relatively simple and straightforward alternative that has been introduced by Barbara Cantwell called CLEAR, which stands for Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal. It's also been called Cap and Dividend. It works like this:

-Cap carbon emissions. -Auction off the rights to emit to the highest bidder. Companies like utilities then have the choice of spending money to pay for that right/pay the penalties or reduce their emissions to acceptable levels.

75% of collected revenues go directly back to the American people to help them pay for the increased expense of consuming more expensive energy (supply and demand, right?). 25% of collected revenues are earmarked to help subsidize clean technologies which will reduce future emissions.

Check it out at: http://cantwell.senate.gov/issues/CLEARAct.cfm

tolawdjk 7 years, 11 months ago

1) There are currently rules on the books limiting greenhouse gas emissions. They do not come into effect until Jan 2012, but they are there. They will have a limited immediate effect except for sources already undergoing major modifications. See the most recent light duty vehicle rules and the "tailoring" rule.

2) The the Court did not rule that EPA -had- to regulate ghgs. Massachusetts only stated that EPA could with the appropriate endangerment finding. That is why attempts to stop the rules stated above have focused on that endangerment finding and not the rules themselves, or the Court's ruling.

Personally, beyond the politics, i don't see how Cap and Trade will work. The market forces behind it have been proven to work at least in principle with the Acid Rain rules. However, GHGs are form of gasesous pollution that hasn't been demonstrated to have the same air basin effects...if you burn coal in Ohio, you don't see a corresponding local temperature increase in upstate NY. Can a Montana land baron put his grassland up for "cap" and have it traded via Florida power stations? What about northern Canadian tiaga forest? Could it enter the US CnT market? Equitorial Congo rainforest? Russian oil deepwell sequestration?

Past the politics, the enforcement becomes impossible, or at the very least, improbable.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 11 months ago

That's why the Cap and Dividend plan of the CLEAR legislation is so intriguing to me. No bogus trade loopholes to avoid doing anything. Instead: do you want to do it? Then bid for it, and if you can't afford it, then you can save lots of money by investing in low carbon technology. It's an economics that is based on the ecological realities of living on one planet where the air, water and ecosystems pay no attention to political boundaries.

Of course there is still the issue of whether there is enough political will to avoid the whole concept from becoming weighted down with special interest exemptions....

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