Published: Thursday, Aug. 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT
Mr Hawkins,I read your letter and got a good chuckle. It reminded
me of a satirical comedy skit one may see on SNL. But then I re-read it. And
it occurred to me that you might be serious. Please tell me I am wrong."I don't understand people who think wealth is a dirty word,
that money falls from the sky and that they have a right to live anywhere they
want with clean water and clean air."I dont understand people
who think clean air and water are luxury items which can be taken away from
others by business in the name of profit."Could it be because
people in those areas of the world would rather have food, shelter, clothing,
and transportation than have pristine air?"You forgot water.
Unfortunately, a growing percentage of their water supply is now polluted.Do some research. China's air and water issues are becoming a huge
issue. But heck, they sure can make some cheap junk.Please please
to those on the right. Tell me that you disagree with George.
This letter writer is correct in that the geography of the Wasatch Front makes
it very difficult to have a first-world standard of living without fouling our
own nest. But he presents it in such an arrogant manner and with such morally
corrupt justifications that I am having a hard time agreeing with his
premise.George, a few things. 1) if it was your kid suffering health
problems on red air quality days, you wouldn't be so dismissive. You are
only OK with it because it is not immediately affecting you 2) You are admitting
that you are willing to sell your health (and worse, someone else's) for
material gain. That's pretty bad. 3) Beijing has toxic air quality, we
really don't need to emulate that. 4) if money and commerce truly are more
important than our health, let me ask you this: if an industry or the local
economy could benefit by releasing small amounts of something nasty like arsenic
or lead into your drinking water, would you claim this same argument? "Well,
my kid has a learning disability now, but she's not living under an
overpass! Good enough for me!"
There are viable solutions to indelibly ruining our precious landscape and
scarring the lungs of young children and causing premature deaths with toxic
pollution! It would be a waste of my time to go further. Support
of Gary Herbert and his "drill first, ask questions never" indicates a
serious lack of critical thinking skills in many Utahns in my opinion.
Ignorance is a wonderful thing to lose.
Another letter setting up a false premise. If we as a people had taken this
approach, we would still have rivers that burned, air that soiled your body, and
any number of problems that we tackled and made better. This is not a can do
attitude or one that will ever lead to progress. It is an attitude of
capitulation and surrender. Could it be that our quality of life is due directly
to the regulations that require industry to act responsibly?
One extreme editorial deserves another. Both George's view and the ones he
rebukes are extreme. Letting people pollute at will is not the answer, nor is
heavy handed government interference. Too bad we don't have elected
officials that could give us a true compromise and find middle ground.
George Hawkins, You must be kidding. If you look at pictures of Salt Lake in the
40's you will see pollution that will shock you. We have come along way but
there was nothing voluntary about the changes we made. We are not there yet. If
you as a citizen have a car that spews out dirty exhaust I would wager you will
moan and groan when you have to get an emissions test and are forced to fix it
or sell it. I know I don't care for emission tests but it has helped us
dramatically. The same applies to all business, they will not do anything
voluntarily if it costs money. I can hear the same blah blah blah of "we
didn't do anything illegal". Government is us, collectively trying to
make life better for all of us. Why should you George Hawkins be an exception.
What exactly does the author of this letter mean by "clean air
proponents"?....Does he know that all this prosperity means his life will
likely be cut short by a decade or so? Is he a "clean air opponent"?
"Why is so much of the oil we use coming from the Middle East? Why are so
many of the products we buy coming from China? Could it be because people in
those areas of the world would rather have food, shelter, clothing, and
transportation than have pristine air?"I think the writer is
pulling our legs, but just in case he isn't, the new wisdom is that poor
environmental quality threatens commerce.In China, so much fresh
water is polluted that Coca-Cola is now working to figure out how to develop
clean water sources, simply because it can't make its product there without
pure water! Hong Kong is so polluted, companies based there
can't keep quality employees. In the Mexican Gulf, the Deep
Horizon oil spill continues to hamper fishing and tourism in Gulf states --
indeed, people refuse to eat seafood from the Gulf, which has devistated small
mom-and-pop fishing companies.And here in Utah, eBay almost
didn't come due to our poor air quality. How many other companies have
turned their nose to Utah because of its poor quality of life?
George, move next to a refinery. Take deep breaths outside your home. Leave your
windows open so the fumes can enter your home. Stop drinking culinary water, and
dig a well that takes ground water from below the refinery.Put your money
where your mouth is.
Most people are sick of the extremist positions on both sides of this issue. We
need to develop and promote reasonable measures to control pollution as we
develop resources to raise our living standards.A person or business
who refuses to do something that will cut their pollution in half because it
cost $100 is being unreasonable.An environmentalist who demands that
a business spend $1 million dollars to implement a pollution control system that
will have negligible impact on the amount of pollution is also being
This letter is a joke, isn't it?
Re: "Does he know that all this prosperity means his life will likely be cut
short by a decade or so?"As usual, liberals maintain we're
all gonna die unless we shut down our economy and live in caves.The
truth is this -- environmental quality in Utah is MUCH better now than it was a
few years ago. Those of us that have experience here beyond the last few real
estate boom-bust cycles know that. We remember air that burned our eyes, smelled
of rotten eggs, and destroyed our cars' vinyl tops [remember those?]. We
remember black snow. We remember a smelly swamp along the Jordan.We
don't have those anymore. But even back then, our lives were NOT being cut
short.Utahns live longer than average, not shorter.Notwithstanding disingenuous liberal ranting to the contrary, there is a happy
place we can all live in. One with healthy air and a healthy economy.In fact, we're living there now. Just tune out liberal bleating and
Joe Capitalist. Well said. Both extremes are ridiculous. I am glad
you agree with that sentiment.The problem is to get reasonable
people to come together to find the sweet spot.That requires a bit
of give and take where neither side gets all they want.And that
mentality needs to permeate our congress. If you look with an open
mind, the same logic applies to most issues facing our country.
It would be a good idea for procur to ask whether the environmental improvements
he refers to came as a result of voluntary compliance. I'm thinking...nope.
As for George, I tend to agree that someone is having a little joke here.
So what, if you die young. You had a good job. You created lots of
wealth for others. You even created a little bit of wealth for your self.
Take joy in the knowledge that you made others happy.
Entrusting industry with voluntary compliance is like trusting criminals on the
honor system. A few will comply out of fear that someone is watching, but most
will take unfair advantage, thinking of no one but themselves. We can't
trust corporations to do the right thing when profit is involved, because money,
more than anything else, corrupts even the most well-intentioned persons. When
prosperity takes precedence over human health and safety, we have sold our souls
to corporate devils.
Why is so much of the oil we use coming from the Middle East? Because
that's where it is. We can tear this country apart and trash the
environment looking for oil (I'm all for it) and we will find some but not
The "Boston Consolidated Mining Company" opened operations to mine for
copper in 1898. Today, we call that mine "Kennecott". Lubra Oils Manufacturing Co. built a refinery in North Salt Lake in 1908.Automobiles came to Utah as soon as Ford made them affordable.Our great-grandparents were the first to see mining and refining. They were
also the first to enjoy a pollution free ride in a Ford (at least when you
compare the "droppings" from a Ford to the "droppings" from a
horse).Some grandparents decided to stay in Salt Lake Valley and
live along side the mining and the refining, as did their children. You and I
decided to live here, decades after the mining came to town and the refineries
started producing gas and oil.We all could have decided to live
anywhere. We live in a free country. Nobody assigned us to live in Salt Lake
City.Of course we all want clean water and fresh air, but shutting
down all business to insure that the air is clean is the best way to turn Salt
Lake City into a ghost town. When technology makes a cleaner environment
feasible, things will be even better.
Yes Mike. Technology WILL make things better. It already has.One
of the major causes of air pollution in the SL valley is car emissions. Cars have gotten much better and the pollution levels have dropped
significantly.Thanks to technology. Thanks to the businesses that
found a way to make cars more efficient ans less polluting. But, one
must admit that standards set by the government helped to push that advance.And while there was certainly a cost for that push, it also had an
associated benefit.Was the cost worth it? Personal opinion
probably. But in hindsight, it looks wise to me.My point is that the
ALL's and the NEVERS don't fit. There are exceptions.We
need a balance. There are countless examples of Govt regulations run amok. There are also countless examples of great things facilitated by our govt.Both sides need to recognize that a balance is what we should aim for.
This letter does a great job of pointing out the nuttiness of the crazed, wacky
environment worshipers movement, (I'll never understand why "separation
of church and state" doesn't apply to the nutjob environmental
worshipers movement) and how much over-the top they can be. Middle ground is a
fine concept, but we are way beyond that, and the geniuses who support
environmentalism, can't figure out why we have such a struggling economy!
What a shock!
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