Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | April 22, 2009

Becky FengerEarth Day madness

Today, my fellow earthlings, is Earth Day. Let's review some of the latest developments on the "Green Frontier." (Forgive the alphabet soup, but we're talking governmentese now.)

The huge news emanates from the Environmental Protection Agency. On April 17, the EPA issued its Endangerment Finding (EF) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to issue such a finding if it determines that greenhouse gases "affect human health and welfare." Newly drunk with power, the EPA was only too happy to oblige.

In order not to misrepresent the ramifications of the EF ruling, I quote from the weekly newsletter of Science and Environmental Policy Project:

"EPA will have to draft regulations to limit emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). The CAA specifies a lower limit of 250 tons per year; that would affect 1.2 million establishments, including apartment buildings, hospitals, and maybe even Al Gore’s mansion. EPA would also have to regulate the emission of methane from farms, feedlots, sewage treatment plants, etc."

Swell. The air we exhale has been determined to be a pollutant (I will admit my old optometrist's breath could qualify). Bessie the Cow is guilty as well. What the EPA would do well to ponder when blaming man and beast for global warming is why the warming precedes a rise of carbon dioxide and not the other way around. But who cares about science when one has the power to regulate, blissfully free of such confines? And I thought nothing could cripple us economically more than the proposed "cap-and-trade" scheme. The EPA now has the power to make the staggering costs of cap-and-trade look like chump change. That ought to make you pass some methane!

Why don't we revolt over the outrage of declaring carbon dioxide a "pollutant" when it is necessary for life itself? He who controls the language, remember, controls the masses.

On a surprising note, the New York Times gave front-page coverage to a story entitled, "Do New Bulbs Save Energy If They Don't Work?" Trashing the compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), some experts put the blame on the federal government for the kinks with the squiggly bulbs. It seems the feds leaned on manufacturers to lower the price to consumers to make CFLs competitive with incandescent bulbs, which caused the makers to use chintzy components for an inferior performing product. Never mind the mercury that makes its way to the landfill only to seep into our water supply. Don't even try to tell me the average clod is going to drive to a collection center to dispose of the CFL instead of tossing it in his trash.

One of the best ways to celebrate Earth Day is to make littering a capital offense. It's criminal how the landscape is defiled with trash. OK, so that might be a tad extreme, but it really gets my goat. At the risk of being called racist, I direct your attention to the scenery along Highway I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson. It becomes glaringly obvious once a driver has entered Indian Reservation territory. You would think plastic bags were their chief crop. The bags float across the desert until they catch on the spines of cactus, wrapping God's creation with man's refuse. My companion told me the highway crews are not allowed to clean up the mess on reservation land, so it sits as a glaring example of lost pride.

Then there is Chen Liu. Belmont Homes in Mesa is building him an 18,000-square-foot mansion at the Peaks, a chi chi neighborhood in the mountains of Las Sendas. Liu's home will rely almost entirely on solar power. All well and good. Can someone tell me why this man, who is buying a home with a panoramic view for $4 million, should receive $120,000 in local and federal incentives (that's taxpayer money!) for installing his solar system? This multimillionaire apparently sees nothing wrong with soaking us for his opulence. If solar power can't make it in the marketplace without huge government subsidies, then engineers should go back to the drawing board. As often repeated, government shouldn't pick winners and losers. Are you listening, Arizona Corporation Commissioners?

I have no more space to cover lobbying efforts by General Electric and Morgan Stanley for a government-run Green Bank to force taxpayers to finance green projects. Later.