and now, in the middle of a summer of stifling summer temperatures, and fires, we have this story, in the new york times, written by mr. eric lipton.
it’s the story of mr. william l. wehrum, a corporate lawyer who has worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the environmental protection agency (e.p.a.) in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants. now he is working to erode the clean air rules and expand the use of coal.
what do you think? do you want dirty air or clean air for your children?
in my opinion, it’s incumbent upon each of us to burn as little fossil fuels as is possible. that means rarely driving a car, rarely taking an airplane, growing as much of your own food as you can, etc.
neil schluger m.d., chief of the division of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care at columbia university, also wrote a letter to the editor regarding this story. i quote below:
coal is well on its way to dying a natural death as a fuel, as cleaner and cheaper alternatives (natural gas, solar, wind) become increasingly available. the mining of coal is one of the most deadly and dangerous occupations in the world. there is no energy shortage in the United States, and to allow and encourage more use of coal-fired power plants at the expense of human lives is both cynical and cruel.
the number of miners found to have debilitating lung disease caused by inhaling coal dust has risen notably in the last few years. high levels of particulate matter in the air lead to impaired lung growth in children, chronic lung disease in adults and myriad other health effects, including premature death.
everything about the loosening of regulations related to the use of coal is wrong, and it represents a violation of the public’s trust in the government’s obligation to safeguard the lives of its citizens. there is no clearer example of putting profits over people than deliberately poisoning the atmosphere in pursuit of dollars.
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