Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lisa Jackson's legacy: A love of radical Rachel Carson

Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency head, announced Thursday she was leaving her post, “confident the [EPA] ship is sailing in the right direction,” according to published media statements.

The question is -- the right direction for whom?

In a Sept. 28 statement posted on her official government blog, Jackson marked the 50th anniversary year of ecologist Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, with glowing commentary. Carson, of course, was the crusading environmentalist who is largely credited with launching the modern day green movement. She wrote in her 1962 book of the effects of pesticides and DDT on the environment – the supposed silent killer of the bald eagle. The EPA, much to the delight of malaria-carrying mosquitos everywhere, subsequently banned the use of DDT. As a curious sidebar, even the very liberal New York Times questioned the sensibility of banning DDT in a 2004 article entitled, What the World Needs Now is DDT. Yet Carson’s claim to fame – as a caring and trusted advocate for the environment – remains intact in the world of leftists. This, from Jackson, on Sept. 28:

“One of my priorities as administrator of EPA has been to continue what Rachel began by working to expand the conversation on environmentalism. Bringing people together around environmental issues is essential. We want mothers and fathers to know how important clean air, water and land are to their health and the health of their children. We want to continue to engage African Americans and Latinos and expand the conversation on environmental challenges, so we can address health disparities resulting from pollution that affects low-income and minority communities. Environmental justice will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards. … Though we’ve made a great deal of progress since Silent Spring, we still have much work to do. Heart disease, cancer and respiratory illnesses are three of the top four most fatal health threats in American … and all three have been linked to environmental causes. … [Carson’s] message remains as true and as critical today as it was 50 years ago.”

If only Carson’s messages were truthful.

“History has proven Carson’s claims wrong,” wrote Angela Logamasini, a senior fellow for the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in November. “Contrary to her admonitions, a chemically caused cancer epidemic never came to pass.”

Rather, Carson used “harsh and unscientific rhetoric” to sell her anti-chemical message. Logamasini found. Scientists have since rebuked Carson’s supposed findings – but the damage is done. Not only are farmers and producers subjected to costly impositions and regulations aimed at furthering “organic” practices – unnecessary costs that are then passed along to the consumer. But the public relations battle of environmentalism has stubbornly stayed in the Carson camp among bureaucratic leaders. Witness Jackson, who in her tenure has overseen the implementation of historic fuel economy standards (guaranteed to boost the cost of cars and transportation on the American consumer), as well as first-ever mercury pollution standards. Can you say, ‘Goodbye, coal-fired plants?’

Carson would be proud. But for the average American, facing tough financial times and household budget crunches, the price of EPA’s leftist environmental justice programs, and radical regulatory controls, are too steep to pay. Let’s hope Jackson’s replacement adopts a more reasonable environmental approach.

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