The first question is "Is our air healthy to breathe?" As I read the document, it's never answered. Don't describe progress as being moderate or slow without also informing us what that means. How many people will die prematurely, sicken, lose quality of life per year as we progress?
Another major omission, as far as I'm concerned, is the failure to report on the percent of permits applied for but not issued on a timely basis. Are there many more permits like MinnTac's in the system? How many other water quality standards, such as the one for protecting wild rice, are "on the books" but not being enforced?
|Is this fishable or swimmable? How can you tell?|
Photo by J. Harrington
I was extremely pleased to note Governor Dayton's recent initiative to promote a water ethic for Minnesota. However, as a former resident of northern Minnesota has written, "to live outside the law you must be honest." Way back when Congress enacted the Clean Water Act Amendment of 1972, (enacted over a veto by a Republican president by the way) it included an interim goal that all our waters should be "fishable-swimmable" by 1983. We're not close.
|Swimmable, fishable, fixable? (2015)|
A recent study finds that Minnesota is not alone in its failure to attain water quality goals.
"To date, the water quality goals stated by Congress in the 1972 act have not been achieved by American society:Minimizing the costs or difficulties of meeting environmental standards by describing prograss against unspecified metrics is a major disservice to the public and public health for both current and future generations. From everything I've read, with the exception of reports from the current federal administration, climate change responses and abatement will be even more challenging than attaining "fishable-swimmable" waters. We seem to have neither set a good example nor done ourselves any favors with the way we've approached our strategies for environmental quality.
- "to make all U.S. waters fishable and swimmable by 1983;"
- "to have zero water pollution discharge by 1985;"
- "to prohibit discharge of toxic amounts of toxic pollutants".:1"
How many jobs can we expect to create on a dead planet? What's the economic relationship between deteriorating environmental quality and increasing health care costs? Who benefits and who bears the costs of not attaining environmental standards? These are, in essence, ethical questions that go well beyond the realm of cost benefit analyses. For environmental justice and public health reasons, if anything we should consider cost effectiveness analyses.
Meeting the Mountains
By Gary Snyder
He crawls to the edge of the foaming creekHe backs up the slab ledgeHe puts a finger in the waterHe turns to a trapped poolPuts both hands in the waterPuts one foot in the poolDrops pebbles in the poolHe slaps the water surface with both handsHe cries out, rises up and standsFacing toward the torrent and the mountainRaises up both hands and shouts three times!VI 69, Kai at Sawmill Lake
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.