January 2, 2013
The reasoning behind the U.S. Environment Protection Agency as a distinct entity is to ensure that competing industrial interests are disentangled from decisions affecting the environment. Rather than spending millions of dollars pushing back against EPA efforts to protect environmental quality, it is incumbent upon industry to find new, creative ways to thrive within constraints established to ensure our future survival. This would certainly cost industry a lot less than the cost of obstruction.
Given the political agenda of some in Washington, and the unconscionable notion that industry must be untethered from environmental regulation, outgoing EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's "unwavering commitment" to the health of all Americans is a tribute to her tenure at the EPA.
Jackson is stepping down as EPA chief after having battled for reduced pollution, thereby incurring the hostility of the Republicans. President Obama's backtracking from previous commitments to reducing environmental damage may well be a factor in her resignation.
Unlike the U.S., the Irish have become serious about pollution. The New York Times reported last week that Ireland's carbon tax has raised $1.3 billion in three years; meanwhile, the country's greenhouse gas emissions have fallen more than 15% since 2008. It's been estimated that similar policies in the U.S. could generate some $1.25 trillion in much-needed revenue over 10 years.
I hope Obama will return to his initial positions on these crucial issues.
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