Issue Date: November 21, 2011
Regulate Carbon Dioxide Now
Environmental concerns should be one of our nation’s top issues; we do have only one planet, and it cannot be replaced. However, the article on the Environmental Protection Agency’s delay of carbon dioxide emissions regulations highlights the fact that this has taken a backseat in the agency’s priorities (C&EN, Sept. 26, page 9).
Many environmental groups have the viewpoint that control of greenhouse gases is an urgent issue. I support this stance and the pressing of regulation updates. EPA has a responsibility of protecting the environment and doing the best work possible toward maintaining and cleaning it.
When the Clean Air Act was passed, it required EPA to regulate greenhouse gases if they became a threat to public health. In 2009, the agency determined that there was a threat of harm to the public, but there have not been any modifications since then. If EPA continues to postpone deadlines, they may never be met. EPA has already delayed two previous deadlines and currently has not even set a new time frame.
This repeated failure to stay within time limits could result in change being postponed indefinitely, especially if EPA pushes back updates past the next presidential election. Since Republicans are generally against greenhouse gas regulations, a change in majority party could destroy any chance of setting strict rules in the near future. What if we don’t have time to spare before the environment further deteriorates?
The possible reasons behind this delay are just as disturbing. In today’s economy, a drive to save money is understandable; however, this should not be at the expense of the environment. Business and industry owners should appropriate more funds to protecting the state of the environment, because this is a critical issue. I think that EPA should stop procrastinating on making unpopular decisions and do what is best for the environment: enforce new, stricter rules on greenhouse gas emissions that will, in the long run, contribute to saving the planet.
By Abby Thayer
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
- Copyright © American Chemical Society