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Entries in EPA (25)

Wednesday
Mar052014

In Keeping Our Waters Clean, Let's Be Realistic

Photo by Robert Montgomery

We all live downstream.

Thus, pollution poses an exponential threat to our waters and our fisheries. And in a perfect world, no one would pollute.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.

As a consequence, we pollute, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes flagrantly. Along the Potomac River, signs once warned that just touching the water could be hazardous to human health. Ohio’s Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire. And Lake Erie was known as a “dead sea.” The list of waters degraded and almost destroyed by pollution is a long and shameful one.

We, however, also have learned to clean up after ourselves, prompted by the federal Clean Water Act of1972. Erie now is one of the nation’s most productive fisheries. The Potomac is nationally known for its bass fishing. And the Cuyahoga, a river once devoid of fish, now is home to 44 species. The list of waters enhanced and restored is a long and hopeful one, and we arguably do more to protect our aquatic resources than any other country in the world.

That doesn’t mean that we’ve done as much as we can or should do to minimize pollution. But neither are we living in a time when rivers are catching on fire and as much needs to be done or even can be done, for that matter.

But that doesn’t keep some from trying, especially those who believe that more big government is the solution to our imperfections. That’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to expand the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ to include water on private property.

Additionally, under new proposals, jurisdiction would extend to streams regardless of their size or how frequently they flow, as well as to ditches, gullies, and just about any low spot where moisture collects on a seasonal basis.

And that’s why the move is being heartily endorsed by environmental groups, who argue that court rulings have weakened the CWA.

“It’s taking the way the Clean Water Act works back, so that it works the way water works in the real world,” said Bob Wendelgass of Clean Water Action.

But just how far do you allow the federal government to intrude on the rights of private property owners? Those rights are a cornerstone of who we are as a nation and why so many from all over the world want to live here.

“The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S,” said U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith from Texas. “This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever.

“If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds, and streams.”

While I understand and even sympathize with the environmental side of this argument, I do not support such an expansion of power using regulations written by anonymous, unelected bureaucrats. Such decisions should be left up to Congress, which represents the people.

Additionally, many who want to impose ever more strict environmental regulations upon industries, agriculture, municipalities, and now private property owners do so with unrealistic expectations. In their never-ending quest for perfection, they want to reduce pollution limits to levels that can’t even be measured.

“These folks live in la-la land,” said Bill Frazier, conservation director for the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation. “If you attack these things (regulations) as unrealistic, you are evil.

“What I’d really like to see is for them to sustain themselves on their own little happy ¼-acre subdivision lot. I’d be willing to bet every single one of them has a nice, cozy temperature-controlled house, pantry full of food, a sink with a spigot full of safe drinking water and a shower and toilet that take away all that nasty that they just can’t think about, much less live with, while they point fingers at everyone else.”

So . . . would I like to see an end to all pollution?  Absolutely. After all, we all live downstream.

But I believe that’s an unrealistic expectation, considering our prevalence and dominance as a species on this planet. Let’s keep trying to reduce our pollution footprint, but let’s do so with consent of the governed and with realistic standards, not those imposed by anonymous bureaucrats who live in “la-la land.”

(This opinion piece was published originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Friday
Feb282014

Protection From Pollution or Power Grab?

Photo by Robert Montgomery

We all live downstream.

Thus, pollution poses an exponential threat to our waters and our fisheries. And in a perfect world, no one would pollute.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.

As a consequence, we pollute, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes flagrantly. Along the Potomac River, signs once warned that just touching the water could be hazardous to human health. Ohio’s Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire. And Lake Erie was known as a “dead sea.” The list of waters degraded and almost destroyed by pollution is a long and shameful one.

We, however, also have learned to clean up after ourselves, prompted by the federal Clean Water Act of1972. Erie now is one of the nation’s most productive fisheries. The Potomac is nationally known for its bass fishing. And the Cuyahoga, a river once devoid of fish, now is home to 44 species. The list of waters enhanced and restored is a long and hopeful one, and we arguably do more to protect our aquatic resources than any other country in the world.

That doesn’t mean that we’ve done as much as we can or should do to minimize pollution. But neither are we living in a time when rivers are catching on fire and as much needs to be done or even can be done, for that matter.

But that doesn’t keep some from trying, especially those who believe that more big government is the solution to our imperfections. That’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to expand the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ to include water on private property.

Additionally, under new proposals, jurisdiction would extend to streams regardless of their size or how frequently they flow, as well as to ditches, gullies, and just about any low spot where moisture collects on a seasonal basis.

And that’s why the move is being heartily endorsed by environmental groups, who argue that court rulings have weakened the CWA.

“It’s taking the way the Clean Water Act works back, so that it works the way water works in the real world,” said Bob Wendelgass of Clean Water Action.

But just how far do you allow the federal government to intrude on the rights of private property owners? Those rights are a cornerstone of who we are as a nation and why so many from all over the world want to live here.

“The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S,” said U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith from Texas. “This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever.

“If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds, and streams.”

While I understand and even sympathize with the environmental side of this argument, I do not support such an expansion of power using regulations written by anonymous, unelected bureaucrats. Such decisions should be left up to Congress, which represents the people.

Additionally, many who want to impose ever more strict environmental regulations upon industries, agriculture, municipalities, and now private property owners do so with unrealistic expectations. In their never-ending quest for perfection, they want to reduce pollution limits to levels that can’t even be measured.

“These folks live in la-la land,” said Bill Frazier, conservation director for the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation.  “If you attack these things (regulations) as unrealistic, you are evil.

“What I’d really like to see is for them to sustain themselves on their own little happy ¼-acre subdivision lot. I’d be willing to bet every single one of them has a nice, cozy temperature-controlled house, pantry full of food, a sink with a spigot full of safe drinking water and a shower and toilet that take away all that nasty that they just can’t think about, much less live with, while they point fingers at everyone else.”

So . . . would I like to see an end to all pollution?  Absolutely. After all, we all live downstream.

But I believe that’s an unrealistic expectation, considering our prevalence and dominance as a species on this planet. Let’s keep trying to reduce our pollution footprint, but let’s do so with consent of the governed and with realistic standards, not those imposed by anonymous bureaucrats who live in “la-la land.” 

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Wednesday
Nov272013

EPA Proposes Cut in Ethanol Use by Refiners

It appears that we finally might have won a battle against ethanol, the alternative fuel that has ruined thousands of outboard engines, is less efficient than fossil-fuel gasoline, and has forced up food prices nationally.

Money News reports, “Earlier this month, the Obama administration also signaled that renewable fuels were losing political favor as the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the amount of corn-based ethanol (that) oil refiners must blend into U.S. fuel supplies.”

Forcing use of ethanol in gasoline was a boon for corn farmers and those who built plants to process the fuel, but the strategy was a typical big-government screwup in every other way. For example, pure fossil-fuel gasoline yields 500 percent more energy than what is required to produce it. By contrast, ethanol provides but 30 percent, according to one study.

That inefficiency is reflected in that fact that one gallon of ethanol requires 1,700 gallons of water and results in 10 gallons of sewage-like effluent.

Even former Vice President Al Gore, the Big Daddy of the environmental movement, has admitted that his support for ethanol was a mistake. During a green energy conference in Athens, Greece, Gore said that energy conversion ratios for ethanol “are at best very small.”

He added, “One of the reasons I made that mistake (supporting ethanol and ethanol subsidies) is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

Monday
Sep162013

Anglers Win Important Election Battle in Australia

Good news for recreational fishing in Australia, as the Coalition government “swept to power in a landslide election victory.”

That’s because the Coalition seems much more rational about resource management than the previous Labor government, which was backed by anti-fishing extremists.

According to Fishing World:

“It is likely, insiders say, that the new government would favour ‘protecting what needs protecting’ but not necessarily banning fishing.

“The Coalition’s approach to marine protection is likely to be a bitter pill for the various anti-fishing groups, which have long campaigned for no compromise lockouts.”

Read the rest of the story here.

And, by the way, if you think that a similar anti-fishing movement isn’t actively campaigning to close off public waters to anglers in this country, you aren’t paying attention. The Obama Administration has especially emboldened them. Some of them are serving in it, in agencies such as the National Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. And many others are helping shape policy.

Friday
Aug232013

Taxidermist Mounts New Attack on Asian Carp

Taxidermist Mike Pusateri joined the battle against Asian carp when he was approached by Mike Matta, a charter captain. At an upcoming event, Matta thought that more than photos and videos were needed to drive home the threat that these invaders pose to native fisheries in the Great Lakes and other waters.

“They wanted something with impact, something physical in three dimensions to show people exactly what they were talking about with these fish,” Pusateri said. “I had never done a mount of an Asian carp – I’m not sure anyone had ever done one – but it seemed like something that was really important.”

And that proved to be the case. Pusateri since has done carp mounts for EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Sea Grant organizations, as well as many universities and state agencies.

“Maybe I became a bit of a celebrity at the taxidermy conventions, but I’m just hoping my work will help combat the problem,” Pusateri said. “When I talk to the fisheries guys, they seemed stumped by this problem, and kind of scared by it. They say these fish eat so much that the other species just die out.”

Read more here.