Why Are We Siding with Polluters?
by Jennifer Heckler
Introductory Note: A couple of decades ago our U.S. Congressman became a regional hero by bravely protecting us from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA was determined to destroy the American way of life in our part of North Texas by imposing severe air quality standards. Locals cheered Representative Dick Armey’s bold defense of our right to breath polluted air, and he was hailed as a local hero and repeatedly reelected until he retired. I never understood how seemingly sensible people can be so easily suckered into acting in their own worst interest. We are today breathing some of America’s worst air because of Mr. Armey’s tireless defense of our right to not let “them bureaucrats in Washington” push us around. Armey, of course, no longer lives here to breath the air. He’s breathing clean air in one of his mansions far removed from the south wind that blows Dallas’s scarcely regulated bad breath on us.
Jennifer Heckler’s interesting piece below shows that America’s tendency toward self-sacrificing stupidity is still alive and well. — Gene Franks
Last week, the state of Florida used your tax dollars to take legal action to try to stop the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay in the mid-Atlantic region.
While dirty water abounds here at home, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a brief against the Bay cleanup plan — along with the polluters (the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Council, The Fertilizer Institute, National Beef Cattleman’s Association, etc.).
These are the same types of polluting industries we’ve been trying to get to capture and treat the pollution that they generate here in Florida. They are also the same polluting interests that joined Bondi in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fight protective enforceable water quality standards for controlling fertilizer, sewage and agricultural runoff into Florida’s waters for drinking, swimming and fishing.
As both Florida’s waters and the Chesapeake are being polluted by nutrient pollution, having an effective nutrient pollution cleanup plan for the Chesapeake means Florida’s polluters could have to do more to treat their own pollution on-site, rather than disposing of it in our waterways. This would save us from having to pay more of the ever-increasing costs of declining tourism and real estate values, as well as for additional publicly funded cleanup projects.
We understand why the polluters would fight the cleanup of the Chesapeake, but we are confounded and outraged as to why our state would.
This cannot be credibly portrayed as a state’s-rights issue, as the Chesapeake Bay states signed and supported the cleanup plan. This also cannot be portrayed as protecting Floridians’ interests, as this is not in Florida and would set a negative precedent toward having effective cleanup plans for Florida’s waters.
Contact Florida Gov. Rick Scott (850-488-7146) and Attorney General Pam Bondi (850-414-3990), to tell them they need to stop and withdraw this dirty-water lawsuit immediately, using our tax dollars to clean up Florida’s polluted waters instead.
And to the people of the Chesapeake, we as Floridians apologize that our state leadership would try to prevent you from having a clean bay for you to safely enjoy.
Please know we want you to have clean water, just as much as we want it for ourselves.
Jennifer Hecker is director of natural resource policy for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, go to www.conservancy.org.