Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Is This Where We Want To Go?

Okay, I know it's the Christmas Season. . .when we're supposed to hold good will toward all men in our heart. I mostly do. I've been trying to change my perspective and be optimistic about life and not so cynical about a lot of things. But, even in this Season of joy and good will toward men, I have to agree with Fox News's Seven Milloy's editorial posted on Junk Science. Mr. Milloy writes about the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to post a "Most Wanted List" of "environmental criminals." He conclusion that, "If the EPA needs a Wanted list, how about making it a “Help Wanted” list in search of Enforcement Division employees with some perspective?" is exactly right. In my opinion most environmental-activist-types need perspective about one thing or another.

Mr. Milloy writes about two of the "environmental criminals" on the EPA's list. One is the "Alfa Romeo Gang" who had the audacity to illegally import cars that do not meet US emission standards. Of course, the gang resides somewhere in Italy. The other "criminal" is the man, Maruo Valenzuela, who loaded the oxygen canisters onto the ValueJet plane that crashed in the Everglades in 1996. Apparently, the EPA believes his action was an extreme criminal act. Mr Milloy explains, "The EPA apparently views the canister loading as 'illegal transportation of hazardous material.' In any event, Valenzuela’s boss and co-worker were eventually acquitted of the same criminal counts. The only reason Valenzuela also wasn’t acquitted was because he panicked and fled to parts unknown before trial. He is, in effect, a fugitive from his own innocence -- but he is wanted by the EPA nonetheless."

There are others on the EPA's "Most Wanted List" as well. Mr. Milloy writes,

"The rest of the EPA’s fugitives appear to be mostly hapless immigrants now believed to be “hiding” oversees in places like Syria, Mexico, India, Greece, Poland and China. They’re wanted for a variety of alleged infractions, including smuggling banned refrigerants, discharging waste into sewers, lying to the Coast Guard about a ship’s waste oil management system, transporting hazardous waste without a manifest, and creating false official documents.

"While the EPA’s fugitives certainly appear to be a motley lot who may have broken a variety of environmental regulations, often unwittingly, one can’t help but wonder whether the EPA’s Wanted list is not only over-the-top, but where the agency is headed."

We should all wonder. I agree with Mr. Milloy; these "environmental criminals" may have broken laws designed to protect the environment, but are they the equivalent of the terrorists, murders, and rapists on the FBI's "Most Wanted List," for example? Of course not. Mr. Milloy believes that "The list’s creation seems a furtherance of the Greens’ larger campaign to plant the idea within the public’s mind that all environmental “transgressions” fall along a criminal continuum." Perhaps. I do think that some of the more "radical" environmentalists (the "greens") may indeed believe that the guy who panics and dumps fuel into a sewer is really the moral equivalent of terrorists. Okay, everyone is entitled to their beliefs and opinions. But what is really scary to me, however, is that (for the most part) "radical" environmentalists don't understand why most people don't think like they do. So, I'm concerned about the EPA's attempt to “track down environmental fugitives,” and “increase the number of ‘eyes’ looking for environmental fugitives” through a "Most Wanted List." I agree with Mr. Milloy, maybe we need to look at where the "radical" environmentalists (and it seems the EPA's Enforcement Division) want us to go when we consider "environmental crime." For example, according to Mr. Milloy,

"In September 1988, the EPA had John Pozsgai indicted for removing more than 5,000 old tires from his property and spreading dirt where the tires had been. Although Pozsgai’s land was bordered by two major highways, a tire dealership and an automobile salvage yard, the EPA considered his land a federally protected “wetland” because of a drainage ditch running along the edge of his property. Though the ditch was mostly dry, it flooded during heavy rain, and the EPA considered it a stream. When Pozsgai filled the ditch without a permit, EPA undercover agents secretly filmed the dump trucks that delivered the topsoil. Though his actions didn’t create any pollution, endanger any species or water quality, Pozsgai was sentenced to three years in prison and fined more than $200,000.

In 1997, nearly two dozen federal agents, armed with semiautomatic pistols, showed up at James Knott’s wire-mesh manufacturing plant in Massachusetts. Knott was indicted on two counts of violating the Clean Water Act for allegedly pumping acidic water into the town sewer system. The EPA publicly condemned Knott and warned that his conviction could result in up to six years in prison and a $1.5 million fine. The case was subsequently dropped when it was discovered that the EPA had omitted vital information from the search warrant information indicating that Knott wasn’t violating the law."

And were do the "radical" environmentalists want us to go with how we consider environmental crimes? Well, it may be that the "Most Wanted List" is just the first salvo in a campaign to get us (the public) to consider any environmental miss-step as a drastic crime. For example, Mr. Milloy says points out that,

"A man in the U.K. was fined $215 for leaving the lid of his trash can ajar by more than three inches. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed last July to deputize garbage men to fine people as much as $1,000 for mixing trash with recyclables. Garbage cops, however, pale in comparison to the call earlier this year by NASA’s global warming alarmist, James Hansen, to put the CEOs of oil and coal companies on trial for 'high crimes against humanity and nature' -- a sentiment first broached in 2006 by a blogger for Grist magazine who called for a 'climate Nuremburg' for those who have questioned the need for global warming regulation."

I echo Mr. Milloy's question, "Is this really the direction in which we want to go?"


London SEO said...

Glad to read this post. Very informative and interesting one. I really like it. Keep blogging.

SEO Birmingham said...

Good brief and this site helped me a lot. Gratefulness you seek your information....