Perpetuating environmental politics

A recent Associated Press article typically slanted an environmental story by assuming that activists have valid arguments. The headline indicates the agenda: “Groups say GOP guts environmental rules.” The usual suspect “Groups” quoted include radical activists in the Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center operating in North Carolina. The record of these self-serving gangs abundantly provides misleading statements, scares, unfounded claims and outright lies to further their political agenda. They get away with it because press stories enable it.

Honest investigative journalism no longer exists in most of the traditional print media. And few readers question tales about the predicted horrors wrought by presumed anthropogenic moral offensives against the natural world.

This story continues a long chain of attacks on North Carolina’s recently majority-elected State representatives who promised to scale back overreaching, excessively punitive environmental regulation that helped give this State a business-unfriendly reputation. Gov. Pat McCrory noted that “For decades liberals have stifled small businesses and job creators with undue bureaucratic burden and red tape.” (This could, in part, explain why some legislators feel compelled to lure businesses in locating here with public-funded bribes.)

Ironically, environmental radicals distort conservative legislative actions that would move this State into a more progressive position—liberal policies actually promote economic regression.

For example, new legislation prevents State agencies (increasingly infiltrated with extremists) from disclosing complaints and investigations about farm operations. This has given activists ammunition for accusations and presumptions about potential pollution without evidence or charges. Farmers don’t deserve this unjustified scrutiny because their activities, by nature, involve good land and water stewardship. Of course, occasionally, unusual climatic events may cause temporary uncontrollable pollution. Even these rarely threaten public health or have lasting effects. Yet, radicals, with press support, make big news of them to promote their politically-induced propaganda.

Then, there’s the criticism of reducing unnecessary, expensive air quality monitors across the State. Sierra Club’s Molly Diggins concludes: “That means communities would have less protection from harmful air pollution…”—a ridiculous claim.

And this: Associated Press environmental doctrine advocates dredge up “Duke Energy’s ash pits…leaking toxic waste into the state’s waterways.” Based on what I have read about this issue, a threat of toxicity to humans from these storage sites has not been established even though “a massive coal ash spill at a Duke plant in Eden coated more than 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge.” I haven’t heard that the Dan River has been classified as a toxic waterway or that anyone was harmed by this rare accident.

I’ve also read that Duke and NCDOT engineers consider this ash to be a valuable resource that could be used in highway construction. Further, there’s no imperative that the company be forced into spending billions of dollars (that would dramatically raise our energy bills and enrich some lawyers) in hasty, inefficient schemes of excavation, transport and reprocessing. In fact, disturbing these sites without careful analysis and planning could cause problems that now don’t’ exist. But this is a hot issue that activists salivate over. It gives them the opportunity to spread fear and promote their phony advocacy agenda.

An attorney with the SELC noted that “the environment was once a bipartisan issue.” Yes. But that was long ago when reasonable people agreed on obvious, common-sense actions. That’s no longer possible because unreasonable environmental radicals now control the agenda.

Under liberal governments’ with no cost-benefit analysis, rampant rules and never-ending spending on wasteful projects, we face unjustifiable costs and punitive regulations. A free society cannot allow this to continue—and remain free.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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