Editor, Daily Nexus,
In grade school science class, we are taught that plants, animals and all other living organisms depend on four things for survival: air, water, minerals and sunlight. Apparently, George W. Bush didn’t make it that far in school because his administration has announced changes in our environmental laws that will jeopardize the first and most important item on that list: our air.
The proposed rollbacks to the Clean Air Act will let approximately 17,000 old, dirty power plants, oil refineries and chemical plants escape rules that require them to update their pollution controls when they modernize. The millions of tons of toxic chemicals spewed into our atmosphere by these plants cause over 100,000 asthma attacks and shorten the lives of thousands of Americans every year, numbers that could be reduced by over 75 percent if we simply enforced the clean air laws already in place. Instead, our president is poised to weaken those laws and let offending companies off the hook, in an act that shows more concern for the special interest money of the power industry than it does for the health of American citizens.
So far, you may be thinking, “Oh great, another head-in-the-clouds environmentalist, whining ad nauseam about things that can never change and not offering any plausible solution.” If so, you probably haven’t realized that this environmentalist is writing on behalf of CalPIRG, where the whining ends and the results begin, and that the solution is within your grasp. There is something you can do right now that will take a couple minutes of your time and have a direct impact on the EPA’s clean air policy. A friendly crew of CalPIRG volunteers is waiting in front of the UCen with a supply of cell phones, ready to help you transform your righteous anger into a meaningful public comment. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and let your voice be heard. If you missed us, call the EPA yourself at (202) 260-2090.