To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, November 29, 2020

New Observercast

Trump’s Toxic Policies Threaten People’s Lives

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In July, Carnegie Mellon University released a scientific report saying that more than 30,000 American lives could be saved if we lowered our air pollution levels below current standards.

As reported by Science Daily, “Research findings show significant human health benefits when air quality is better than the current national ambient air quality standard. The estimate of lives that could be saved by further reduction of air pollution levels is more than 30,000, which is similar to the number of deaths from car accidents each year.”

That’s significant. Such possibilities.

But we’re heading in the wrong direction – with Donald Trump at the wheel, spewing pollution in his wake.

Three months after the above report two Carnegie Mellon economists studied Environmental Protection Agency data and, as reported by Meteor Blades at Daily Kos, concluded “that average fine particulate matter increased 5.5% between 2016 and 2018, after having fallen 24.2% over the previous seven years. The cost: 9,700 premature deaths, valued by actuaries at $89 billion.”

Gosh, what could have caused such a spike in pollution after we were making such progress?

Blades defers to Julia Conley at Common Dreams: “Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has completed 10 regulatory rollbacks involving efforts to improve air quality and has slashed nine regulations on fossil fuel extraction industries.

“Trump’s repeal of a rule requiring state authorities to track vehicle emissions on highways, his decision to change how oil and gas refineries monitor pollution, and his rollback of a rule limiting industrial pollution are among the decisions that have led to worsened air quality.”

And even here, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains, Trevor Brown of Oklahoma Watch reported, “The newest data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows air quality throughout much of the state was down during each of the past two years. That bucked a trend in which Oklahoma, like most of the country, had seen significant strides in making the air healthier during much of the past decade.

“An Oklahoma Watch analysis of the federal statistics show that in the 13 Oklahoma cities with air quality monitoring stations, air quality was classified as ‘good’ in 78% of days in 2018. That’s down from a record high of 83% in 2016.

“The number of days considered unhealthy for at least sensitive groups climbed to 45, up from 20 in 2017, 12 in 2016 and just five in 2015.”

National Public Radio reported the obvious in May that, when Los Angeles’s air quality improved, the number of childhood asthmas cases dropped.

Earlier, Nina Golgowski of Huffington Post reported, “U.S. energy officials are rebranding domestic natural gas as ‘freedom gas’ and ‘molecules of freedom’ while promoting its export around the world.”

Then, in August, she returned with the news that, “President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday reportedly plans to roll back regulation of methane emissions by the oil and gas industry ― a major contributor to climate change …

“The purpose of this rule is to get to the fundamental basis of whether [methane] should have been regulated in the first place,” Anne Idsal, the acting assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, told the Journal. “It’s not about whether we’re doing the maximum we can or should do to deal with” climate change.

No regulations; deaths be damned. That’s the Republican way.

Between her two stories was the notification that the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council had sued the Trump Administration, according to Rebecca Beitsch of The Hill, “arguing it is breaking the law by cutting penalties for automakers that do not meet Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.”

Of course, if there’s anything that Trump hates more than regulating polluters it is anything that President Obama touched. And scientific facts?

Timothy Gardner of Reuters reported in May that “politically appointed U.S. environmental officials last year overruled concerns of career scientists about air pollution in a Wisconsin county where U.S. President Donald Trump has pushed for a factory to be built by Foxconn Technology Co, newly released internal emails show …

“But Racine County has suffered some of the state’s worst cases of smog, also known as ozone, pollution that causes premature deaths from lung and heart complications.”

Nothing matters to Trump and his evil ilk except polluted petro-profits. There is one kind of stupidity to deny the future effects of climate change as documented by science. It takes a whole new state of dumb to ignore the deterioration of the air you’re breathing now.

Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.