We have heard the grandiose statements: “Climate change poses an existential threat to our national security.” “The earth has a fever.” “Major American cities could be underwater by 2100 if we do not act now.”
Then there are the buzzwords: sustainability, renewable green energy, carbon footprint, etc.
And of course, there are the unrealistic policy proposals that have zero chance of being passed by Congress anytime soon, like the Green New Deal and Cap and Trade.
Whatever you think about climate change and the threat it poses to the globe, has it ever occurred to anyone that the most pressing environmental threat is water and air pollution here at home?
In recent days, there have been a couple of high-profile stories involving polluters in Alabama.
Last month, Tyson Foods in Hanceville had a waste spill that spread E. coli and killed an estimated 175,000 fish in the Black Warrior River, according to reports.
Then there is the ongoing saga of Decatur’s 3M, which reported to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) in 2014 that it was illegally discharging chemicals into the Tennessee River.
Despite alerting ADEM, 3M did not stop the release of those chemicals into the Tennessee River. It was not until a story by Chelsea Brentzel, a reporter for Huntsville’s WHNT, that the public found out last month.
What is the point of having bloated bureaucratic regulatory agencies if they are not going to enforce environmental laws?
As conservatives, we are generally suspicious of environmental activists. Yes, in many cases tree-huggers want to become a world devoid of fossil fuels, the combustion engine and other modern amenities that doing without would result in the collapse of the civil society.
We are also very skeptical of government and governmental agencies that exist and do not function as they should — yet receive countless taxpayer dollars.
What is the point of even having a Department of Environmental Management? Let us rely on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and cede more power to the federal government. At least we could put a few million dollars to use elsewhere.
Alabama is not the only state with serious pollution violations that, in many cases, are a result of gross negligence on the part of the state officials, who are paid to enforce environmental laws. Waste and toxic spills happen all over the country and often result in the contamination of local water supplies.
That pollution creates actual tangible effects for all the world to see. Yet, we are told climate change is the most serious threat to our existence on this earth — not for what it is doing now, but what we are told is coming in 2100. And so, we need to dramatically alter our lifestyles or expect the end of civilization.
Oddly enough, the two aforementioned polluters making headlines in Alabama seem to be on board with taking a proactive approach to manmade climate change.
From 3M’s website regarding “global challenges”: “From air emissions to fossil fuels, 3M takes a proactive and collaborative approach to address energy demand and climate change — in our operations and for our customers. The issues around effective use of energy resources and climate change are complex and interconnected. At 3M, we are focused on understanding those connections and seeking solutions that promote energy conservation, clean energy infrastructure and reductions in atmospheric greenhouse gases.”
Not to be outdone, Tyson Foods touts its climate change efforts on its website as well: “As one of the world’s largest meat producers, Tyson Foods has a major role within the company and across the industry to move toward a low-carbon business model that can sustainably feed the world’s growing population. Tyson Foods is taking an important step in the right direction by setting a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent across its entire value chain.”
So, let’s get this straight: 3M and Tyson Foods somehow are unable to prevent the dumping of pollutants into Alabama’s waterways, but they’re doing their part to thwart the destruction of mankind.
Did it ever occur to anyone that big corporations are using climate change lip service as a penance for the awful chemicals released into the water and air?
At times it seems that global warming is not just the most important environmental cause — it is the only environmental cause.
What has happened in Alabama is proof we should not take cues about the environment from corporate America.
“Oh, we’re terribly sorry about the cancer-causing perfluorooctanesulfonic acid we have been dumping into your water supply for the last five years. But here are some carbon offsets we bought to make up for it! See, we care about the environment!”
There is an effort underway by those in power to make climate change the primary focus of the regulatory agencies in charge of the environment. There are those that would have the EPA spend most of its time and resources on regulating carbon emissions.
At what cost do you do that to everything else that we use on a day-to-day basis, like water and air?
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