As an eyewitness to the changes brought about by the inception of the Environmental Protection Agency [The E.P.A (1970)], and up to April 20, 2014; I have to ask are we making good environmental progress when it comes to protecting the environment?
I remember the grey skies of Los Angeles during the late nineteen sixties and early seventies. Our petroleum gasoline had lead added to it to give vehicles more umph. Lots more umph. Muscle cars were race cars and automobile manufactures in partnership with fuel providers, made cars that used lots of fuel, burned rubber and emitted many particulate matters into the air.
Lead in the air, when emitted without being filtered or "scrubbed"** can be seen with the visible eye. It has almost one hundred percent opacity, after being emitted from a vehicle, or refinery and lingering in the air. Before the E.P.A. there was no rules to say a company or manufacturer couldn't pour out pure lead into the air, water and soils. Industrialists have always fought against regulations, saying that they would do right without being regulated to death, but that is historically untrue.
Automobile and petroleum producers warred against removing lead from gasoline. The same exact type of propaganda you hear in political ads, and centerfolds by energy companies was that taking the deadly lead out of fuel was going to run everyone out of business, destroy the economy, and automakers. Lies, all lies.
When the E.P.A. was first started, it started getting teeth into the terrible polluters, operating in places where the bodies could not be buried deep enough. A Superfund Trust was started that all of the polluters who wanted to "play" or pollute had to pay a certain of their permitting and licensing fees into the Superfund Trust, and whenever they were bad players, and did an environmental oops or no-no, the victims of the disaster would be compensated through the funds, and the land/water/air would be restored and made whole, at the cost to the player. Sounds fair...
President Tricky Dick Nixon undid a lot of the Environmental Protection and helped create tax laws and loop-holes that would benefit the Industry and Corporations. It completely changed how the Superfund dollars operate, and today it is usually local taxpayers who pick up the bill for the polluters who are allowed to abandon their properties and all liabilities. Then their shell companies come back in and are paid to "maintain and clean-up" the areas, making even more money off of tax-payers.
In 2005, after Katrina, President Bush weakened many environmental laws regarding landfills, and other dumping/stock-piling laws. Today, April 22, 2014 we have a Congress of Baboons who profit from dirty money, dirty energy and insane environmental activities. More people world-wide are standing for their natural homes, but energy seems to be hungry for all living matter on our planet.
Yesterday's anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster is a testament as to how far all of us "civilized" humans are treating the only place we have to live. Throughout the explosion, and spill never once did I down BP for the disaster. It was not their drilling that caused that disaster, it is our driving. We must take a concentrated look around us. Turn off the I-Pod/TV/Device for a while, and look around you. It is going to take big changes for all of us to turn this railcar to disaster, around.
The E.P.A. was able to come out strong, because so many citizens got involved in demanding cleaner water, air, and soil. It was the will of the People of the U.S. who demanded over-sight for industry. It has not taken industry long to weed the citizens out of the process of environmental permitting and public meetings. They are written by lawyers and engineers, for lawyers and bankers. It is difficult for the average citizen to be heard, it is tough for whole organizations like GreenPeace, Audubon, Nature Conservancy and Heifer International to be heard and make headway, but it can be done.
It is our Earth, Love her or leave her, but please do your best to respect our planet and make a difference on how you allow others to touch her.
Happy Earth Day - 2014!
**"Compassion vs. Greed; Environmental Activism"
**"Is That A Clean Smokestack?"
**"23 years later and Shell has learned nothing from the Exxon Valdez disaster