Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green Police: Punishing the Innocent Since 1967

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Before we get into today's story, a little background. I've lived most my life in the Central Valley of California. When California started more stringent smog testing and smog controls, they started in the Central Valley, because our air was dirtier. The SF Bay area, for example, was exempted for years more, because their air was cleaner.

Any idea why their air was cleaner? Was it because the good liberals in the Bay Area were environmentally conscious and all drove Smart Cars? No. Mostly it was because strong ocean breezes would blow all the crud from the Bay Area into the Central Valley. Businesses and individuals in the Central Valley were hit with penalties and the expense of cleaning up someone else's dirty air for years. Eventually, Bay Areans were required to perform the same smog checks as the rest of the state.

Fast forward to the Clinton years. Remember the Kyoto treaty? The US was supposed to cut back their carbon emissions and curtail manufacturing and energy production, while countries like India and China would be exempted.

That brings us to today. Study will track Valley air pollution coming from Asia

From a wind-blasted ridge high above the Pacific Ocean, scientists will begin learning how much of the San Joaquin Valley's air pollution can be blamed on coal power plants and ferocious dust storms in rapidly developing Asian nations.

As United States air quality standards get even stricter, the amount of pollution blowing in from overseas becomes a more significant hindrance to meeting those standards. And failure to meet them endangers our health and costs us money.

Because the Green Police will be more than willing to fine us more and more for pollution we did not cause.

Not only have Valley businesses already spent billions reducing air pollution, but motorists from Stockton to Bakersfield will now pay $29 million in new yearly vehicle registration fees because the Valley failed to meet standards for harmful ozone, or smog, last summer.

To be fair, we create a lot of that smog ourselves with our belching vehicle tailpipes. And some of it blows into the Valley from the Bay Area or Southern California. This is the first time officials have attempted to quantify how much ozone is crossing over from Asia.

Inexpensive consumer goods, massive volumes of credit, the flu and now smog. Is there anything we can't get from China?

The Asian problem is complicated. Dirty coal power plants are part of it; they spew pollutants that ultimately cook in the sun and form ozone in the atmosphere. Dust storms in western China are a major source of tiny particles that can also be dangerous to your health. Those storms may be exacerbated by land-management practices in that region, said Anthony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center at the University of California, Davis, and the lead scientist on the new San Joaquin Valley study.

Some progress has been made in Asia, Wexler said. "They're cleaning things up, but they're building power plants like nuts, too," he said. "This is a very, very difficult situation."

The pollution takes about a week to blow across the ocean. It stays high above the marine layer, several thousand feet above sea level, which helps scientists differentiate it from pollution coming from nearby cities.

So, bad land management practices and new coal fired plants in China effect the air quality in California, and businesses and individuals here are fined and regulated and their activities are curtailed, and yet the Greenies want to exempt India and China from cleaning up their own pollution as part of the price of membership in the League of Modern Civilized Nations?


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