Friday, August 28, 2015

Wisconsin sky won't fall, but could be cleaner

[Updated from 8/26] You may remember that a few months ago, business leaders - - aided by Walker's appointees at the corporately-dominated Wisconsin Public Service Commission and Department of Natural Resources agencies of his makeup - - were fretting about new federal clean air rules under discussion.

Now we learn that big business is about to flood the airwaves in Wisconsin with propagandizing TV ads predicting economic doom and gloom should pending federal cleaner air rules be rolled out on a reasonable path to implementation - - just as these doomsayers have wrongly claimed the economy and the sky would fall after the US Clean Air Act went into effect, to our benefit, decades ago.

Ad infinitum.

Big business in Wisconsin even fought federal clean air improvements sought by the Bush administration, too, as this posting on my blog more than eight years ago points out:
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce argues in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed that Wisconsinites should breathe dirty air. 
The Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency wants to impose tough clean air standards on about one-third of the state, including Milwaukee, Waukesha and Dane Counties, because our air is not healthy, yet could and should be cleaner. 
And the WMC objects. 
And tells us the sky is falling: 
"Manufacturers, many of whom are facing intense global competition, would be forced to cut jobs to pay for the higher cost of electricity and additional regulatory burden," says the WMC's Scott Manley. 
"The ozone non-attainment stigma that helped cause economic expansion to stagnate in the southeastern part of the state would spread to other counties."
Manley repeated the argument in 2010.

So, two questions:

How can the Walker administration oppose cleaner federal air standards when it has done everything imaginable since 2011 to block local and state initiatives to clean Wisconsin's air and put us, as a state - - one people, one population, one economy - - closer to meeting the achievable and commonsense goals in the federal rules?

The Walkerites, catering to the WMC and other business and conservative ideological interests, have:

*  Blocked wind turbine projects.

*  Added new fees to solar installations.

*  De-emphasized state and DNR focus on global warming and climate change.

*  Put barriers in front of Milwaukee's streetcar planning.

*  Killed highway-congestion mitigating programs and projects like Amtrak service between Milwaukee and Madison, all regional transit authorities statewide - - while trimming funding for local transit services.

*  Enabled oil pipeline expansion.

*  Raised the maximum speed limit.

*  Expanded road-building, but ended support for bike transportation and closed off the addition of bike and pedestrian paths along new state roads.

So who's keeping the air as dirty as possible in Wisconsin, thus having the least moral authority to complain about a push from the feds for cleaner air?

And another question:

Don't these business groups, and the state government officials working together to resist cleaner air for the rest of us have among them members or employees or family members or friends with asthma, heart, lung and other ailments that would be lessened with cleaner air, one breath at a time, that deposits less ozone?

Figures published by the Walker administration show asthma alone afflicts hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin citizens, kills one Wisconsinite every five days, costs the economy $100 million annually and fails disproportionally on minority communities.

Do all these anti-regulation, pro-industry movers-and-shakers, along with their government allies, get special dispensations from their share of problems that dirty air makes worse?

They can't all live in 24-hour, air-conditioned and filtered bubbles far, far away from ozone pollution.

1 comment:

Telemaque said...

If Milwaukee had a decent transit system, ozone levels would go down without any action from manufacturers...