Thursday, February 11, 2021

Walker kept WI aligned with a worldwide trend

You can be forgiven if the Senate impeachment trial led you to miss this stunning, global story:

Fossil fuel air pollution causes nearly 1 in 5 deaths worldwide each year, research show

More than 8 million people worldwide die each year from breathing polluted air containing particles from fossil fuel emissions — a significantly higher number than researchers previously believed. The staggering number accounts for nearly one in five of all deaths in 2018.  

And as is often the case there are local angles to recall; here's one 2018 item you may have forgotten that I'd included in my Walker-Foxconn reporting:

Making Wisconsin smoggier again  
Longer version: Walker wins clean air exemptions from stronger US clean air rules from Trump for Wisconsin counties already getting "F" for air quality. 

Smoke stacks from a factory. 

Here's another item on the subject. 

Last week it was the DNR's rushed approvals for four air pollution permits to allow Foxconn to emit annually 796 tons of eye-watering, land-and-water contaminating smog and other airborne pollutants.
Today it's the US EPA approval at Walker's request to exempt much of SE Wisconsin from clean air standards that will apply to much of the state and country.

The EPA found that portions of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Door and Kenosha counties along the lake were in violation of a new tougher ozone standard. 
Racine County — the future home of the Foxconn Technology Group — was declared to be in compliance with the standard. 
The EPA also exempted Waukesha and Washington counties from 2015 standards advanced under Obama administration. 

By the way, data from the American/Wisconsin Lung Associations had already graded Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Sheboygan Counties "F" for particulate (read: ozone) pollution, and more data show there are thousands and thousands of Wisconsinites in those counties and elsewhere in the state already at risk from pediatric asthma, adult asthma, lung cancer and cardio-vascular disease. 

The Chicago Tribune had weighed in, too: 

The Trump administration on Tuesday exempted most of southeast Wisconsin from the latest federal limits on lung-damaging smog pollution, delivering a political victory to Gov. Scott Walker as he makes a new Foxconn Technology Group factory the centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

Not surprisingly, Illinois had begun to litigate the exemption.

The EPA, under Administrator Scott Pruitt, left Racine County off its non-attainment list despite an agency staff analysis of ozone levels in Wisconsin published in December, which found that the county’s air exceeded federal ozone limits.

And I'd said there were local angles, plural, so let's remember that in addition to his getting Federal clean air regulations eased over SE Wisconsin, now-ex-Gov. Walker also made sure the GOP-led Legislature stuck it to motorists who went out of their way to help cut down on harmful tailpipe emissions: 

Gov. Scott Walker shows support for new fee for Wisconsin electric, hybrid vehicles

Part of Walker's legacy disdain for clean, green energy he'd extended statewide, which Bruce Murphy had tallied. 

All of which goes to show that air pollution is related to choices, and there alternatives are available:

WI utility to retire large coal-burning plant by 2024.

GM will sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035. 

Biden's climate change initiatives

Wind, solar are fastest growing energy sources

No comments: