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The Lung Thing, The Brain Thing: Clean Air for the Future

The Lung Thing, The Brain Thing: Clean Air for the Future

by Dominique Browning

It was with a sickened heart that I read the long front page article in the New York Times, Re-election Strategy is Tied to a Shift on Smog.” The piece walks through the process by which President Obama suddenly withdrew one of the most important pollution regulations of his administration, one that was meant to set safer limits on the ozone pollution that causes smog. The article outlines an aggressive campaign on the part of trade groups like the American Petroleum Institute and other industry lobbyists -– who were successful in killing the regulation, and blind-siding Administrator Lisa Jackson in the process.

The chief lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce described Administrator Jackson’s presentation on why new ozone rules were so important: “the lung thing, the asthma thing, the kids’ health thing.” Right. Those “things” happen to be human beings – it was a revealing moment, showing us how callous pro-polluters can be about the costs of pollution to human life.

In another meeting at the White House, a pulmonologist at Duke University laid out the health impacts of pollution, talking about the statistics on deaths associated with higher ozone levels. She emphasized the damage smog does to the lungs of even healthy young children.

William Daley, the President’s Chief of Staff, listened politely, then asked, “What are the health impacts of unemployment?” It was a question right out of the industry playbook.

Funny you should ask, Mr. Daley. Because by coincidence, this week’s Washington Post ran an excellent article about the impacts of regulations on employment – and painted a very different picture from the dire job-killing predictions of industry. Here are some choice quotes:

“Some jobs are lost. Others are created. In the end, say economists who have studied this question, the overall impact on employment is minimal.”

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that very few layoffs are caused principally by tougher rules.”

Even Mike Morris, the Chief Executive of AEP, one of the country’s biggest coal-based utilities, admits that installing scrubbers to control toxins coming out of  power plants would create jobs.

“We have to hire plumbers, electricians, painters, folks who do that kind of work when you retrofit a plant,” Morris said. “Jobs are created in the process — no question about that.”

Ralph Izzo, chief executive of the New Jersey utility PSE&G, said, “… installing scrubbers at two of his company’s coal plants created 1,600 jobs for two years, plus 24 permanent ones.”

So it turns out that though the polluters have been successful at linking the words “job-killing” with “regulations,” it isn’t true.

Now supporters of clean air must begin talking about “job-creating regulations.”

Oh, and – let’s not forget the lung thing, the brain thing – our beloved children’s health thing.

Please joins Moms Clean Air Force.

 

Related Stories:

Asthma Kills Children

Traditional Family Values Made Me an Environmentalist

Never Underestimate the Power of Mothers to Protect Their Children

 

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Photo credit: Jens Langner

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59 comments

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11:24AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

Great post. Thank you.

11:33PM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Too bad for the nation's health that Obama is allowing the pro-polluters to justify their pollution with job scares. It must be true since Obama and the Dems have done little or nothing to refute that claim. The same must be true for the "Job Killing Taxes" on the rich. The Republicans cannot say "taxes" without saying "Job Killing." I have never heard Obama refute that either.

7:53PM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Thanks.

5:03AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

I intend to eventually move off the grid entirely through use of solar, and try to offset my electricity enough such that the electric company PAYS ME for electricity on a monthly basis. 10 years ago this would have been a serious endeavor, but these days they have easily accessible high quality consumer level products that you can buy cheap, and then set up with a minimum of effort.

I’m doing my part to save the world, and saving a lot of money while doing it.

So I have two questions for you:

Do you love your planet?

Do you like to save money?

5:02AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Ice cubes are crystalized ice, and grow much faster when they have a pre-existing ice crystal to grow from. Leave one ice cube in your ice cube trays when you fill them for faster results.

Water is necessary for life, and there is no reason that we should have to pay the same companies that pollute our environment to have clean water to drink. Less than 20 years ago it was possible for my father and I to get fresh drinkable water from local springs, but now try drinking the same water and you would end up in the emergency room for poisoning. Protest their destruction of the environment, and save money by using high capacity home water filters with reusable water containers.

http://www.amazon.com/Paragon-5-Stage-Countertop-Filter-System/dp/B000EK68AC


I use solar lighting to light up portions of my yard, and have a solar light attached to my shed such that I don’t need to run electric to it. I also use gyro lights so I never have to buy batteries for my flashlights, and solar charged lithium ion rechargeable batteries for other devices.

I am far from being rich. So when it comes to saving money it’s not a question of whether I want to make the effort or not. All of the things I just mentioned cost me either close to nothing, or nothing at all. If we all began doing what I have already done we would be making serious progress towards saving the planet.

I intend to eventually move off the grid entirely through use of solar, and try to offset my electri

5:02AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

I use green methods to control bugs. 1 part sugar + 1 part borax + 1 part water in a water bottle with a hole drilled into the lid will give you a very effective ant trap that you can use over and over. The same mixture with apple juice is being used to control ants, wasps, carpenter bees, and other flying insects that like to eat your house. My outside lighting is yellow which does not attract bugs anywhere near as much as the standard white. I also keep my house reasonably clean so there’s nothing to eat on the floor. ;P

We use reusable bags every time we go shopping. Reusable bags hold more, are more durable, do not pollute the environment like plastic bags do, and can be repurposed for luggage or storage. I keep several bags in my car’s trunk for whenever I decide to go shopping.

Buy digital goods that come with no store packaging (applications, games, music, etc). Not only will you avoid the waste created by store packaging, but digitally bought goods are often sold at huge discounts because they don’t have to factor the cost of the packaging into the price. Online and Steam both are well known for selling games at 75% to 95% off.

Keep ice in your freezer. Your freezer will use less electricity to stay cool, you will avoid the waste of ice bags, and save money on ice. Ice cubes are crystalized ice, and grow much faster when they have a pre-existing ice crystal to grow from. Leave one ice cube in your ice cube trays when you fill them for faster re

5:01AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Two trash can sits under my roof outflows, and the other 2 sit in my garden where I dump waste water from my dehumidifier in them.

My garden is grown completely from seeds, uses dirt from my yard as soil, uses pee as liquid fertilizer, and it is already providing food to offset my family’s food budget. All of the plants are planted in $2.50 paint buckets from WaMart, and thus it only takes 10 minutes a day to take care of it.

We cook around half of our meals on a propane grill which uses a lot less energy that an equivalent electric over. I have seen designs for solar ovens that use no fuel at all, and may eventually be switching to one of those.

I have replaced every bulb inside/outside my house with long life LED bulbs. I might have to replace a few maybe in 20 years, but for now the cost of leaving them all on (30 bulbs) is not even half of the cost of 1 incandescent bulb.

I have tin foiled most of the windows in my house, not only to help seal up the windows to prevent air/heat leaks, but to reflect incoming solar heat. This way I don’t have to run my AC as much in the summer, or my heaters as much in the winter.

I rescue trees that have grown up in inconvenient places in my yard, and then replant them elsewhere in my yard. Not only is planting trees a way to save the planet, but eventually they will be large enough to give my house shade. This will also lower my AC consumption in the summer.

I use green methods to control bugs. 1 part sugar +

5:01AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Two trash can sits under my roof outflows, and the other 2 sit in my garden where I dump waste water from my dehumidifier in them.

My garden is grown completely from seeds, uses dirt from my yard as soil, uses pee as liquid fertilizer, and it is already providing food to offset my family’s food budget. All of the plants are planted in $2.50 paint buckets from WaMart, and thus it only takes 10 minutes a day to take care of it.

We cook around half of our meals on a propane grill which uses a lot less energy that an equivalent electric over. I have seen designs for solar ovens that use no fuel at all, and may eventually be switching to one of those.

I have replaced every bulb inside/outside my house with long life LED bulbs. I might have to replace a few maybe in 20 years, but for now the cost of leaving them all on (30 bulbs) is not even half of the cost of 1 incandescent bulb.

I have tin foiled most of the windows in my house, not only to help seal up the windows to prevent air/heat leaks, but to reflect incoming solar heat. This way I don’t have to run my AC as much in the summer, or my heaters as much in the winter.

I rescue trees that have grown up in inconvenient places in my yard, and then replant them elsewhere in my yard. Not only is planting trees a way to save the planet, but eventually they will be large enough to give my house shade. This will also lower my AC consumption in the summer.

I use green methods to control bugs. 1 part sugar +

5:00AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Saving The World
Hey do you want to save the world, and save a lot of money too? Here’s a list of things I have done that not only save me a lot of money, but also help save the planet I depend on. Most of these easy to do/inexpensive solutions are related to lowering your energy consumption.

Live in as small of a home as you are comfortable with to save money on cooling, heating, and maintenance. I presently live in 896 square feet (64 X 14) with my wife, and almost a third of that space is empty. We usually spend only $150 to $200 a month for temperature control, and even less during months when we do not have AC/Heating units on. Paying to cool, heat, and maintain space that you don’t use or need is stupid.

I used an inexpensive Black and Decker leak finder, and foam sealant to seal any leaks I found. Some of the leaks had a temperature difference of 10 degrees. So you know I was losing money through them right up until they were sealed.

I have a dehumidifier that takes water out of the air inside my house. With less humidity in the air your AC/heat will not have to work as hard to control your house’s temperature.

I have a garden which is fed from a rain barrel system I made from 8 brass pipe fittings, 2 water hoses, and 4 trash cans. The trash cans are connected by the hoses, and give me a water capacity of 128 gallons between the four. Two trash can sits under my roof outflows, and the other 2 sit in my garden where I dump waste water from my

4:17AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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