The bad math of mercury

March 21, 2004

You have to wonder about the Bush White House and its poor handling of mercury-pollution rules that put the unborn at special risk.

The Environmental Protection Agency is reacting badly to data that its brand-spanking-new rule for reducing mercury pollution, calling for a 70 percent reduction in mercury pollution by power utilities, may not be achieved as promised in 2018, a date many experts say is already too far in the future, but only by 2025 or longer.

In a New York Times story, an EPA spokesperson defensively suggested cleaner skies would indeed be ahead, because, “the agency’s models did not build in the assumption that mercury controls will become cheaper, and so more appealing to the utilities, as time passes.”

Don’t worry, America; when technology is cheaper, sometime in the future, government and industry will protect you from being poisoned. Read the rest of this entry »


Some revelation at hand for Florida?

March 10, 2004

For what is this rough beast
Its hour come at last
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
•    From W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming,” 1919

’The American government is excellent, yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in the mid-1800s. Today, Thoreau is a rallying cry for sprawl boosters and Gov. Jeb Bush who—at his last inaugural address—aimed an apocalyptic arrow from the same quiver, saying he hoped state buildings would soon lay empty as “silent monuments to a time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.”

When Thoreau spoke, the entire population of the United States was 23 million. That’s the same number of people, more or less, expected to live in Florida in 2020. And every clock in Tallahassee is set to that date because accommodating population growth is big business for legislators who profess antagonism to big government. Read the rest of this entry »

Swimming in sewage

March 3, 2004

Across the state of Florida, an oceanic flow of municipal sewage is injected underground, and also, through shallower (ASR) wells to “store” stormwater for later retrieval, treatment and use.

The manipulation of aquifers is a cost of growth. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the final costs of manipulating aquifers are incalculable. Read the rest of this entry »