It’s very difficult, living in a place like Ohio, with so many threats to the natural environment, to understand how the possible government shutdown can be entwined in disagreements about clean air. CLEAN AIR. I mean, really.
But it is. From the Washington Post:
Republicans are aiming to curb the Environmental Protection Agency’s reach, especially its role as a regulator of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
GOP lawmakers have proposed riders that would limit the agency’s ability to oversee coal mining and enforce the Clean Air Act.
And then, with all the coal mining disasters we’ve had in recent years, how can anyone suggest, with a straight face and lucid mind, that we should be moving toward limiting oversight of the industry?
Knowing that college students, as well as primary and secondary kids are getting an education in understanding how the natural world affects our lives and how we affect it, and are acting on the concerns raised is comforting. And, as an elected official, I get the thing about needing spending cuts. (I also happen to get that role that raising revenues and extending tax cuts play, but we’ll leave that for a non-MCAF post!)
But given the constant stream of news and information about health costs and the stress of health costs on individuals, families, employers, the government and, supposedly, industry, what logic could ever justify loosening the regulation of known health dangers, so many of which exist in and use air for transmission?
I hope there’s no government shutdown, but diluting our commitment to keeping our air clean and ensuring it stays that way in perpetuity will be infinitely more costly than any failure to cut spending the way some ideologues are craving.