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  • June 2013 Inside Perspective - Editorial

June 2013 Inside Perspective - Editorial

Forget Clean Air, It’s A Power & Money Grab

Mike McGlothlin
Jun 1, 2013
Photographers: Diesel Power Archives
I’m sure you’re all aware how detrimental the aftertreatment emissions systems on ’07 and newer diesels have been to performance and longevity, but this month I’m delving into something much deeper than that. It’s an attempt to expose the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for what it is: a once well-intentioned entity that has become way too powerful, and in some cases, unlawful.
Photo 2/2   |   Money
What Was, Is No More
In its infancy (1970s), the EPA set out in a noble effort to clean up U.S. air, land, and waterways—and it worked. However, today the agency is a completely different animal. In an endless power and money grab, it passes stringent regulations (some of which are based on exaggerated or false scientific facts) and hands out staggeringly high fines that cripple industries, businesses, and even individuals.
Assumptions and Lies
In October 2010, an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle exposed the California Air Resources Board (CARB), a department within the California Environmental Protection Agency, for overestimating diesel emissions by 340 percent. The worst part was that this dizzying exaggeration of facts played a major role in drafting tougher regulations for heavy-duty vehicles used off-road and in the construction industry. The fact that CARB, from the top down, had no explanation for how this happened is extraordinary. CARB also previously overestimated the amount of deaths linked to diesel particulate matter exposure by 8,800 people.
Above the Law?
Classifying carbon dioxide (what we exhale and what keeps plants and trees alive) as a pollutant in 2009 through the guise of an “endangerment finding” was big news for the EPA. Even bigger news was that after Congress refused to pass laws that limited carbon dioxide emissions, the agency put its policy of regulating it into action anyway. For those who don’t know, the EPA is only supposed to enforce laws that Congress passes. Thankfully, the Pacific Legal Foundation, among others, has challenged its blatant disregard for the law. In its suit against the EPA, the organization points out that it refused to submit its second (more stringent) light-duty vehicle emissions standards to the Science Advisory Board for peer review, although it’s required to do so under the Clean Air Act.
As a journalist, I find the EPA’s track record of denying Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIA) appalling. Created in 1966, this federal law gives you the right to access information pertaining to the federal government. It’s a basic (and necessary) way to stay informed about what your government is up to. The EPA is either denying FOIA requests because it thinks it’s above the law, or it has something to hide. Quite possibly, it’s both. How can an organization that behaves this way ever be trusted?
The Fight Ahead
According to a book titled The Last Line Of Defense by Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, by defining carbon dioxide as a pollutant, “the EPA could regulate its emission from everything from power-generating plants, to factories and office buildings, to individual cars and trucks.” Remember, the OEs went to great lengths to make their current emissions systems convert hydrocarbons and NOx into carbon dioxide because it isn’t harmful, but now the EPA wants to regulate that, too. In the coming years, this will impact the diesel enthusiast culture even harder than it already has.
I’m One Of You
Before any environmentalists get too bent out of shape, this isn’t an argument for dirtier air. I’m one of the biggest clean air, no-smoke advocates you’ll ever meet (because I’m a human being that needs clean oxygen to survive, and because I want diesel performance to exist 10 years from now). However, when the “promise” of a cleaner environment is based on factually inaccurate scientific information and gets implemented at the expense of bankrupting my country, count me out. I want balanced, sensible, clean air laws that are prescribed based on facts.
What You Can Do
So how can you help stop the EPA’s politically driven overreach? Call your state legislators and tell them to challenge federal laws and regulations that are unconstitutional or void of factual evidence. Also remind them that under the U.S. Constitution, the states are supposed to determine their own affairs without federal oversight.
The state of Virginia has been very successful in challenging various EPA regulations, most recently stopping the agency’s attempt to regulate storm water runoff as a pollutant. Texas, along with Virginia, is in the process of trying to get the Supreme Court to compel the EPA to conduct its own research to back up its claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that puts the public’s health at risk (so far, the EPA has only adopted the United Nations’ less-than-credible data on the matter). These states are doing their job. They are trying to limit the power grab of the federal government and make sure that if laws are made, they’re based on scientific certainties.
So, pick up the phone, write a letter, or send an email. Things are only going to get worse, and much more than our diesel hobby will be affected if we don’t act now.
- OF

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