…a bipartisan project

          Last fall, my talented nose detected an odor of excess petroleum when I was putting out my flag. The second or third time, not caring to exit this realm in a blaze of glory, I called CenterPoint. The trouble-shooter arrived promptly and conducted a thorough investigation that declared my gas lines in good shape.

          Turns out, I wasn’t the only person with a sensitive nose. About 20 people over the past two weeks had made similar reports. The cause, he explained, was trucks on the Duncan Bypass, about two miles away, carrying away soil removed from the refinery site down by Meridian.

          Imagine that — air so clean that even such a small disturbance is noticeable.

          There’s a reason for that. Government leaders realized the health dangers of a polluted environment and took action to correct the situation.

          On Dec. 2, 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was signed into law by Richard Nixon, once the most crooked, vile and despicable president in our history. In fact, Nixon, a Republican, had proposed the creation of the agency to address environmental degradation as the result of unchecked industrialization. It was another Republican, the Elder Bush, who signed the Clean Air Act into law in 1990. 

          Burning rivers, dying wildlife and lakes killed by acid rain sparked bipartisan measures to protect our environment – and, of course, those of us living within it.

          That was then; this is now.

          On Dec. 7, Meteor Blades reported for the Daily Kos, “An estimated 60-90 percent of U.S. waterways could lose federal protections that currently shield them from pollution and development, according to Kyla Bennett, director of science policy at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Alaska and the arid west will be hit particularly hard by the new rule….

          “By removing water quality standards and permitting requirements, the rule will open these streams, rivers and wetlands to being paved over, filled in or polluted. The result, environmentalists say, may take us back to the days of river fires.”

          The polluters were unleashed later in the month.

          Also, in December, the Sierra Club noted that “North Atlantic waters are too warm to cool nuclear power plants in Norway and Finland, leading some to shut down.” The Sierrans also reported, “July in Death Valley was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, with an average temperature of 108 degrees.”

          The Trump administration response to the global climate crisis was for EPA Administrator – and coal company shill – Andrew Wheeler to canoodle with companies he once lobbied for. Then, just for fun, Trump’s EPA said it was no longer appropriate and necessary to limit coal burning emissions of toxic mercury into the atmosphere.

          And the Trump Temper Tantrum Shutdown has damaged our public lands in ways that will take decades to repair.

          Greedership has replaced leadership.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party)

Saving our habitat

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