Monday, February 25, 2013

There's gold in them-thar emissions

Back in 2007, the EPA succeeded in perhaps one of its most consequential schemes ever. That was the year the Supreme Court held, in Massachusetts v. EPA, that the agency had the authority to regulate so-called greenhouse gases as it does general types of pollution.

Think about this. Throughout the history of the EPA, we've all understood pretty well what air pollution is. It's something we've put into the air that doesn't belong there. So particulate matter and even finer elements have always been a big deal. Smog, acid rain, etc. It's not hard to understand and we've pretty much rid ourselves of those problems relative to our past habits, both from vehicles and industry.

But WAIT. Apparently, some of the naturally-occurring elements in the universe are also a problem. Mind you, anything that occurs in a high enough concentration can kill or do bad things. But no, that's not what we are talking about. For example, I believe Carbon Monoxide is a greenhouse gas. Well, of course that can kill you, as anyone will tell you. Why else do we have all these new fancy detection devices in every new home?

Except, if you notice, the levels (parts per million measurements) dictated by the EPA demonstrate that the regulations have nothing to do with harmful affects. Indeed, the regulators acknowledge that concentrations aren't the problem. The globe is pretty forgiving in how these naturally-occurring atmospheric gases are dispersed.

So how did these gases, which in the atmosphere have no ability to harm anyone, suddenly become pollutants? Well, they will eventually kill us all through global warming, apparently.
That's right, the U.S. Government now sets air quality standards based on something other than air quality.

As usual, there is money to be made. BP Cherry Point Refinery, through a Northwest Clean Air "Agency" grant, has awarded nearly $3.2 million to Whatcom County projects in order to offset its upcoming carbon footprint expansion. 

In a cruel twist of irony, the refinery is only increasing its greenhouse gas output due to a new low-sulfer diesel production facility. That's right, an effort to fight REAL pollution is causing the plant to run afoul of EPA greenhouse gas standards. So they voluntarily find an "authority" like the Clean Air group and funnel money to a bunch of local pet green projects that, until now, would have been pie in the sky. Mind you, we have no idea how effective some of these efforts will be anyway, which is why no one is funding them privately in the first place.

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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Super Sunday

What? You have never watched the super bowl? It's the super bowl. Who doesn't watch it?

That would be the inevitably question were more people aware of my current status as a super bowl virgin. Am I just anti-social or contrary? Actually I'm not always very good at sharing these thoughts with people face to face. I even have trouble when its with otherwise like-minded folk because I don't want to trample on their conscience.

So, I guess it's in that spirit of caution and temperance that I would like to talk about it now.

Let just clear the air. These are NOT the reasons I don't watch the SB:

• It's not my sport. — Actually, I grew up playing backyard football and rooting for my 49ers. My brother and I were an arrogant pair that would take on the entire neighborhood with run patterns of our own making. I was the Jerry Rice to his Joe Montana.
• It's not your team — Well, actually, this year it is. If there was ever a year for me to break down and watch, it's when my beloved San Francisco team is in the big game. Even in other years, you will still find me catching up on Monday to see how it all went.
• I think I'm better than everyone else — No... Just no. Hence my apprehension regarding this topic lest I be misinterpreted. This is a very typical assumption, so there are only a few people I've shared this with. Most of them are fellow believers who I suspect still didn't fully understand my position.

I'm sure there are more false reasons to debunk, but let's get to the point.
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