Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dear Professor Haydn Murray from IU Bloomington,

I will try and be nice since you are: 1) a Professor, 2) an IU Professor; but I can’t promise anything because I know not all professors care for their mission of teaching our youth and being good stewards of our future. Since you have opened your attack on environmental regulations, I will consider that as a declaration of challenge – from which I shall hold my respect until further notice.

You claimed that “[o]ne of the most significant reasons for the lack of investor confidence in the economy is the enormous cost of environmental regulation.”

I have looked at your bio and it does not seem you have any credentials or expertise in economics to make such a broad assertion. In fact, I don’t see any of your published material or your teaching career remotely involved in the studies of economic incentives and its many interconnected impacts in our social, environmental, and political discourse. You are a noted engineer and geologist, please share with us your economic ontology so I may understand what exactly do you mean when you say the “most costly regulation” is the EPA’s tougher limits on smog-forming ozone?

Are you defending the so called “trickling down effect” when you say “[e]ven though 25 million Americans are looking for full-time work, the pending standard would limit business expansion and impair the ability of companies to create jobs.”? But have you considered the kind of economic creation in the long term when the U.S. will have no other choice but to compete with the Chinese, Japanese, German, and many other’s circular economy model and the whole new industry that is emerging from Sustainability? Even if we can create incentives for the coal business to lead the pack for now, how long will that last and how much of that dirty profit will these 25 million Americans see a few years from now when they are suffering from lung disease and various forms of cancer due to their employment with the digging companies with no adequate healthcare?

I thank you for the information that “some 175 business organizations, including many based in Indiana, have asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson not to go forward with the plan to set the ozone standard at 60 to 70 parts per billion.”

But this is a scary thing. Have you seen the citizens and NGOs and even many business leaders with a reasonable foresight calling for tougher ozone standards and cleaner air? They are many and I am one proud to join their calls for action. My opinion is biased and perhaps so is yours?

You stated that may Indiana counties “already are struggling to meet the current standard of 75 parts per billion . . . [and] Lowering the ozone standard again would push 565 more counties into non-attainment status under the Clean Air Act . . . .” Are you suggesting that we lower the standards and race to the bottom and see who can pollute the most for the least amount of money (hence the most profit)?

You claim manufacturers who uses the largest amount of electricity from coal will be impacted the highest. Are you suggesting that we help these large dirty industries continue their dependency and their dirty ways? In light of your impeccable logic, then, we would lower the standards for murders and thieves – if you kill one person, that opens the job options for another and lowers the unemployment numbers, so let’s allow you to kill two people before we consider prosecuting you for murder.

You rightly pointed out that “our state obtains more than 93 percent of its electricity from coal-fueled power plants, Indiana would be squarely between the crosshairs.” Well, can we be proud of the fact that we are so heavily depended on coal and demand that we not face the judgments from our peers or should we accept the fact of our past transgressions and try to improve and meet the tougher standards set for the whole nation, the whole planet?

When those 80 coal plants are forced to shut their doors because of their dirty practices, the energy market will create a demand and opportunities for alternative energy to take off. This will create incentives for innovators to create technologies that we can later export to places like China and Japan. Have you consider the economic opportunities there?

You said: “Put simply, the Obama administration has consistently sold out America's economic future in return for political gain with the environmental lobby.” The same claim can perhaps made against you: “the teabuggers and their cronies have consistently sold America’s economic future in return for political gain with the right wing nutjobs.”

I respect the fact that you are a professor emeritus at Indiana University in Bloomington, but I am reminded of the many religious scholars deemed the esteemed authorities in the dark ages and during the many inquisitions. Who are you professor?

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