I am a hard-core capitalist, a Republican, and ready to “duke” it out with anyone on the playing field of business. Commerce is only worthwhile if it honors creation and serves mankind. Otherwise, you’re nothing but a bad neighbor.
Folks like Rick Farinelli who deride environmentalists as some kind of parasite on the economy are not only trapped in 20th century thinking, they are working against the job creation we need to power our county and nation out of the current economic depression. I have always held that it is a lack of imagination to think that environmental enhancement is inconsistent with a healthy economy. As it turns out, it’s also a lack of reality.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, “99 percent of layoffs are not environmentally related.” The “Gold and Green 2000” study concluded, “States with the best environmental records also offer the best job opportunities and climate for long-term economic development.”
The Economic Policy Institute found that “most economy-wide studies show that environmental regulation has a positive impact on overall employment.”
Dr. Stephen M. Meyer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after analyzing 20 years of economic performance, concluded, “the jobs vs. environment myth has been disproved at the state level as well as at the national level.”
American industries are ready to embrace the next wave of pollution control technologies, and American workers are ready to install them.
The National Environmental Policy Act was a bipartisan effort that passed unanimously in the Senate and with only 15 dissenting votes in the House. It was signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon, who created the EPA, to enforce its provisions. These were strengthened by President George H.W. Bush, after the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 were passed by 89 senators and 410 representatives.
These laws enable the EPA to establish new limits on pollution whenever science reveals they are necessary.
Clean Air Act standards generated approximately $1.3 trillion in public health and environmental benefits in 2010 alone, for a cost of $50 billion. The ratio of benefits to costs is more than 26 to 1.
A year ago, seven CEOs wrote a letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal called “We’re Okay with the EPA’s New AirQuality Regulations.” They wrote:
“Contrary to the claims that the EPA’s agenda will have negative economic consequences, our companies’ experience complying with air quality regulations demonstrates that regulations can yield important economic benefits, including job creation, while maintaining reliability.”
Environmentally sound processes can be more labor intensive than the alternatives they replace: For instance, recycling creates more jobs than land filling. One wonders if government had banned waxed cartons from our landfills, might we still have a Newark Solidboard plant here in Madera?
Jobs created in support of environmental protection policies are securely rooted in the domestic economy as they do not rely on imports from other countries.
Sustainable development evolves through a realization that the relationships between the environment and the economy are not linear but rather cyclical and can spiral in either a dynamic, regenerative direction or in a vicious negative decline. Our economy is facing towering challenges that call for bold, constructive ideas.
The oxymoron, Mr. Farinelli, is a “jobs plan” that seeks to help the pollution industry by repealing environmental and public health standards.