The map below shows the large number of counties not in compliance with federal ozone regulations, which is a clear indicator of the problems that face Alabama, but the Birmingham News chooses to carry the developers tears in a bucket and offer the public this obviously one-sided biased propaganda?
Or perhaps the writer was trying to illustrate that the real story is that the lead state environmental agency is warning developers of what the EPA is getting ready to impose. Either way, the reader's comments that follow the story indicate that the article could have been more balanced in its content.
As we have seen before, the big polluters and their PR firms will use this story to their advantage when lobbying legislators that are not the sharpest tacks in the box on scientific and environmental issues; "bet your house on that."
(graphic credit: Birmingham News Staff)ADEMs Air Division head, Ron Gore, even gets in on the developer's crying fest:
Ron Gore, head of air quality at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, told economic developers at the Economic Development Association of Alabama summer conference they should be very concerned about what is expected to take place as soon as late 2011.Gore said the EPA is mandated every five years to evaluate standards and adjust them up or down to offer a margin of safety to the most vulnerable.But Gore said the dirty little secret about dirty air is that on real hot days, weather and wind determine ozone levels more than car exhaust or industrial emissions. That's because ozone is not a pollutant that originates from man-made sources but is produced in the atmosphere by a chemical stew of pollutants and other substances.While nobody wants a return to the visibly dirty air Birmingham experienced a few short decades ago, officials say the EPA could do more to weigh the needs for air quality with the needs for economic growth.Should the EPA stay on its current schedule, which Gore notes they rarely do, then the new ozone and air quality classifications could go into effect in late 2011. Gore said it's more likely we will see them in 2012, but he believes we will see them.
"I would bet my house the EPA is going to lower them," he said.
The following is from the EPAs website on ozone (nice try Mr. Gore):
- Where does ground-level ozone come from?
- Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as xylene, react in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight. NOx and VOCs are called ozone precursors. Motor vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, and chemical solvents are the major sources of these chemicals. Ozone pollution is a concern during the summer months when the weather conditions needed to form it - lots of sun, hot temperatures - normally occur. Although these precursors often originate in urban areas, winds can carry NOx hundreds of miles, causing ozone formation to occur in less populated regions as well.
From the ADEM website on the main page:
"Alabama is blessed with a wealth and variety of natural resources which provide significant social, economic, and environmental benefits and opportunities for the citizens of Alabama. Our mission at ADEM is to protect and improve the quality of Alabama's environment and the health of all its citizens. This web site is designed to keep you informed and to help you as you live and work in Alabama."
Pass the tissues please, our laughter at the absurdity of Ron Gore's statements and actions, along with the mission statement of ADEM has overwhelmed us.