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Letter to the editor: Yes, Mr. Editor, the EPA does listen

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 12:01 am

I would like to give a rebuttal to The News-Sentinel Aug. 1 editorial “Go ahead and complain, but the EPA won’t care.”

The editor attempts to make the argument that the EPA is making changes that will disrupt our employment and economy and that the EPA doesn’t listen to spokespersons on the other side.

These changes will create massive unemployment in Indiana. According to the National Mining Association's 2012 statistics, Indiana employed 3,935 in underground and surface coal mining. Indiana loses more jobs than that when companies close plants and move production to less expensive third world counties. Even if the EPA regulations slow down mining employment, coal-fired electric plants aren’t going away for quite a while; but in the meantime, we can work to reduce greenhouse gases.

These changes will result in billions of dollars in added utility costs. Any new industry has an initial start-up cost. But companies do find ways to keep those costs to a minimum. The cost of cell phone towers doesn’t keep the communications industry from changing from land lines to cell phone technology. If working to save our environment costs us a little more in energy, we all know how to find ways to conserve energy, to find more cost-effective ways of doing what we want to do.

The editor then goes on to argue that the local, state and national elected officials listen to us, but the non-elected government offices in Washington won’t. This, too, is one-sided. Citizens went to the City Council and argued strongly not to decertify, without reason, the unions that represent employees of the city. How far did that get them? The state legislature determined it could weaken the unions with so-called “right to work” laws. How far did efforts of citizens lobbying get them?

And good luck in trying to get the U.S. Congress to pass common sense legislation. They may be voted in by the people, but they are very much beholden to big business and the big-money donors.

I know there are a lot of people who believe climate disruption is a hoax. Most of them haven’t/won’t read the literature that amply explains what is happening. All one has to do is look at the Arctic Ocean where, for the first time in recorded history, we can sail across the “Northwest passage” during the summer. Or we can watch what’s happening in California, one of our country's primary food sources, where we have had several years of extreme drought and many crops going unplanted. How high will food bills have to get before we realize that serious changes have to be made?

Business is busy accounting for climate change/climate disruption into their plans. They would be foolish not to. For several years the insurance industry and agribusiness have recognized it and planned for it. Why can’t the EPA, whose main purpose is to protect our environment, take steps to do what they are tasked to do.

You may ask why do I wish to push for the EPA’s regulatory changes? The simple answer is, when climate disruption brings down my children’s and grandchildren’s world, I want to be able to show them that I tried to do my part to slow it down and, hope against hope, keep it from happening.

Yes, Mr. Editor, the EPA does listen. It listens to both sides of the arguments, and I for one am glad they are listening more to reason than to emotion.

Ralph Watson