In a letter to the editor of the Leavenworth (Kansas) Times, July 11, 2011, Ronald Banks makes the case simply, succintly and quite accurately, for keeping regulatory agencies that protect our health and the environment:
To the editor:
As an independent, I often find my political opinions “between a rock and a hard place.”
A big concern is cutting or defunding programs or agencies to save money. I can’t say much about SEC, FDA, or any other alphabet agency, except the EPA. As a retired Registered Environmental Manager, I have some experience dealing with those pesky, business-busting regulations.
I would like to persuade the spending hawks to reflect on why the regulations were enacted in the first place. Pesticides were abused and found in our water, air and accumulated in our food as described in the seminal 1962 book, “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. Hazardous waste dumps were uncovered at Love Canal.
A dump site was also found in Leavenworth. Water contamination as shown in the movie, “Erin Brokovich,” from PG&E plants in California; not to mention BP’s oil spill. E. coli bacterial contamination in hamburger, produce and water, lead in paint, smog/particulate smoke in the air, acid rain, constant oil/gas/ diesel spills on land and sea, have been caused by ironical business cost-cutting on environmental compliance.
Just today I learned Massey Energy compromised safety in its coal mine accident that killed 29 workers.
Don’t get me wrong, I know environmental up-keep is expensive; but it is a public good that must be placed in the fixed costs of a business.
It is not that this information is not known to be true, most would agree they want safe water, air and food. Maybe a reason is in our own psychology? I have recently learned in the latest “Scientific American Mind” that a study by psychologist Ullrich Ecker showed that “our memory is constantly connecting new facts to old and tying different aspects of a situation together, so that we may still unconsciously draw on facts we know to be wrong to make decisions later,” (p12).
In a more political way we also like to see the other party hurt, it feels so good that the feeling unifies a party, even if it hurts us all. As long as the EPA is cut and you are passionate for the cuts factual consequences of the cuts and the emotional consolidation of cheer-leading, may overshadow the good of not cutting. Remember, cuts at the top filter down to our state, county and city; our water, air and food.
Face it. If there isn’t someone guarding the environment, we won’t have a safe and clean environment.
So, what I have said above will be a “hard sell” no matter how good my argument. Let’s not jeopardize the nation’s health for lobbied cost-cutting budgetary reasons.
Do you agree?