Feds should stop pollution reaching us (editorial)
“State officials announced Tuesday that Delaware is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for standing idle while pollution wafts into Delaware from other states.” This, according to the News Journal editorial, is as it should be. (1) DE has long suffered from this problem, and state environmental officials estimate over 90% of the ozone in DE comes from other states, mostly noticeably PA and WV. (2) We know “this pollution” can cause real harm, “like causing and exacerbating asthma.” Thus, there was a recent NJ story of a 16-year-old boy named Daniel who ended up in the hospital from an asthma attack last September and “his mother said air pollution was to blame.” (3) DE didn’t choose to allow the industries causing the pollution, “so it shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences.” (4) Some additional points, thrown in simply to create a pretense of being fair and balanced. “To be clear, out-of-state pollution isn’t a scapegoat to explain all our environmental woes.” DE is merely asking its neighbors to “implement existing technologies to reduce the amount of pollution that makes it into the air,” e.g., not turning off scrubbers part of the time just to save money. (5) It’s all the fault of the Trump administration and the nefarious Scott Pruitt, who is “unraveling the Obama-era Clean Power Plan on the dubious argument that it is killing the coal industry” – when the truth is that coal is on the skids because “other, better power sources [natural gas and what else?] have made it obsolete.” (6) True, “some regulations can be unduly onerous,” but “the Trump administration acts as if no regulations are needed.” Maybe someone needs to remind them that the EPA was created for a reason, “if necessary a judge.” This piece manages to conflate a lot of different issues – ranging from ozone levels (continued tightening of standards is not justified on a cost-benefit basis) to the alleged effect on global temperatures of higher CO2 levels. If some regulations are “unduly onerous,” as the editors say, how should such regulations be ferreted out and dealt with? Or is the true rule that no regulation is ever truly excessive If there is ANY environmental drawback that can be identified? By the way, how do we know that the cross-state-lines ozone is coming from PA versus China?