Thursday, October 02, 2003


New Source Review Revue

If some Democrats have their way, the environment will emerge as an important political issue in 2004. Democratic partisans and environmental activists seek to brand the Bush administration "anti-environmental" and exploit the Republican party's traditional political weakness on environmental matters. Their reports and press releases make exaggerated claims about the Bush environmental record. The administration has launched an "endless assault" on the nation's basic environmental protections, according to Bradley Campbell, a former Clinton-administration official now heading up New Jersey's environmental agency. For the past two-and-one-half years, most such attacks went largely unanswered by the administration, but there are signs this is starting to change.
A primary target of environmental activist ire is the Bush administration's reform of New Source Review (NSR) regulations under the Clean Air Act. Under NSR, new power plants and industrial facilities must meet stringent pollution-control requirements. Plants built prior to NSR's adoption in 1977, however, are "grandfathered," and only required to install such controls when they are expanded or substantially upgraded. Plants may undertake routine repair and maintenance without triggering NSR's requirements.
For years independent environmental analysts counseled that NSR was in need of reform. As Robert Stavins of Harvard University and Howard Gruenspecht of Resources for the Future noted in January 2002, NSR "retards environmental progress and wastes resources." By requiring facilities that enhance or upgrade facilities to undertake a lengthy permitting process and install costly additional pollution controls, NSR discourages companies from making cost-effective plant modifications that can improve efficiency and thereby reduce air pollution from energy production. According to Stavins and Gruenspecht, "Not only does the New Source Review deter investment in newer, cleaner technologies, it also discourages companies from keeping power plants maintained." This is bad for the environment, not to mention worker safety and plant reliability...

Melting Matters

The largest ice shelf in the Arctic is breaking up and most of Europe just experienced a very warm summer. As expected, those professors, lobbyists and green protestors who make their living promoting the coming apocalypse due to global warming made a fuss about it. Canadian polar scientists are blaming accelerated regional warming for the ice shelf collapse and their European counterparts continue to make the most of the now dwindling European heat to further their agenda to promote the notion that climate change is dangerously sending us towards oblivion.
The latest concern is that melting glaciers and collapsing ice shelves will lead to a massive water crisis. The left-wing British newspaper The Guardian claims that 'climate change is causing increasingly rapid melting of the ice' and that this will damage 'communities that rely on meltwater for irrigation, hydroelectric schemes and drinking'. The loss of ice will 'increase sea levels worldwide'. Even where glaciers are expanding in Scandinavia (and Alaska) this is apparently due to increased snowfall 'also caused by climate change'. So whether it is an expanding or a receding glacier, human-induced climate change is to blame...

Earth First! Revealed
An in-depth profile of the militant environmental group Earth First! (EF!) has just been added to our award-winning and ever-growing ActivistCash website. EF! is largely responsible for introducing illegal acts of sabotage to the environmental lunatic fringe. The PETA-supported Earth Liberation Front, infamous today for burning SUVs and torching construction sites, originally sprung from Earth First! in 1992. Here are a few selections from our new profile:
--Before he quit in the late 1980s, the driving force behind EF! was a man named Dave Foreman. His book Ecodefense: A Field Guide To Monkeywrenching is a how-to for environmental saboteurs. It includes nine chapters of instructions on subjects ranging from tree spiking to destroying roads, from disabling equipment to making smoke bombs. Rodney Coronado, an Earth First! zealot who was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison following a string of arsons, calls the book "our bible."
--"We thought it would have been useful to have a group to take a tougher position than the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society," Foreman remembers. "It could be sort of secretly controlled by the mainstream and trotted out at hearings to make the Sierra Club or Wilderness Society look moderate."
--In 2002, the Earth First! Journal published a two-page spread called "Most-Wanted Eco-terrorists: the Biotechnology Industry." Claiming that "everyone at Monsanto is an eco-terrorist," it opened with a line that has become emblematic of green radicals everywhere: "The Earth is not dying, it is being killed by corporations such as the biotechnology industries, and the people who are killing it have names and addresses." The article then went on to list names and addresses.
--Theodore "the Unabomber" Kaczynski is the radical environmental movement's biggest black eye. Conventional wisdom dictates that Kaczynski was merely an intellectual serial-killer, but his connection to Earth First! and the broader eco-terror movement is undeniable ... Ted Kaczynski did little more than follow what Earth First! openly advocates. The September 1989 Journal included an article instructing:

While Eco defenders are quick to point out that life is sacred and is not a target of Eco-Defense, many doubt that multinational takeover artists who liquidate old growth forests to pay off junk bonds qualify as Life-forms. Such Robotoids, they aver, should be classed with damns, dozers and drillers. A "Hit List" is available upon discreet inquiry.

For Earth First!, this kind of advice is (sadly) not a one-time thing. A cartoon in the 20th Anniversary issue of the Journal noted: "Trees are for hanging. Kill a developer." And the Unabomber could easily have read Dave Foreman's words: "The blood of timber executives is my natural drink, and the wail of dying forest supervisors is music to my ears."

Setting the Record Straight: The White House, 9/11, and Air Quality

Those seeking a rational, fact-based treatment of the EPA response to the World Trade Center collapse surely won't get it by reading Susan Moeller's op-ed in the September 25 edition of Newsday. Moeller, who teaches media and international affairs at the University of Maryland, writes of a "scandal" and "deliberate manipulation" on the part of the White House.
Nonsense. A reasonable examination of the available evidence wholly undermines Moeller's assertions. Moreover, contrast Moeller's views with, of all sources, the New York Times editorial page, which dismissed the entire issue as "retrospective nitpicking." The Times, no friend of the Bush Administration, also agrees with the most recent scientific findings about air quality since September 11: "The broader public faced little or no risk from breathing the outdoor air once the initial cloud settled."...

No Backroom Deals on CO2

...Part of the bargain for passing the Senate version of the energy bill was to allow Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to introduce a stand-alone bill to establish caps for global warming emissions. Global warming remains an issue of scientific examination, with a number of uncertainties and controversies over the contribution of man-made greenhouse gas emissions to worldwide climate change. To put things in perspective, man-made emissions have been rising, mainly due to the use of fossil fuels, which generates carbon dioxide. However, this is only one of many contributors to the greenhouse effect, with water vapor being the most dominant and least understood greenhouse gas - responsible for 95 percent of the greenhouse effect. Examining carbon dioxide alone, man-made emissions account for less than 3 percent of total emissions... In essence, efforts to cap greenhouse gas emissions are an attempt to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to cap emissions in the industrialized world. Economists have identified the significant costs of this treaty, with estimates ranging from $128 billion to $300 billion a year. As a reference point, President Bush's recent tax cut was only a total of $350 billion with only a $109 billion reduction in 2003, meaning that higher energy costs would virtually offset any boost to economic growth provided by a tax cut. Scientists continue to debate the uncertainties surrounding global climate change and it appears Congress wisely refrained from addressing the issue in the energy bill currently in conference. Until the debate is resolved, the Senate should continue to show restraint, rejecting any legislation that attempts to cap emissions of greenhouse gases.

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