Thursday, February 23, 2006

 

The EPA allows for the waiver of federal clean water standards in poor communities

A little while ago, athene-owl pointed out Grist magazine's seven-week series on poverty and the environment. I think the concepts in the article are revolutionary, especially since truth lies at its center. Environmentalism isn’t about protecting charismatic mega-fauna, it’s about social justice. It’s about saving lives. (Although bears are cute.) From Grist:
In much of popular and political culture, the movement is dismissed as the pet cause of white, well-off Americans -- people who can afford to buy organic arugula, vacation in Lake Tahoe, and worry about the fate of the Pacific pocket mouse. And yet, the population most affected by environmental problems is the poor.
As if to underscore this claim the EPA has allowed for federal drinking water standards to be waived for low-income communities:
The agency is proposing establishing an affordability threshold based on a percentage of household income in a community but is seeking comment on various ways of calculating safe drinking water costs and how much a household can be expected to pay.
Got that? If enough poor people live in a neighborhood, you can pollute it! Obviously this helps large companies that typically operate in low-income regions -- like Montana -- at the same time protecting the GOP's base -- wealthy suburbanites -- from water contamination. Contrast the treatment of Americans who happen to have less money than your average Congressional representative (i.e., most of us) to the treatment of the UAE royal family, who, despite ties to terrorist organizations and illicit arms smuggling, recieved a multi-billion dollar port contract. Money talks. The rest of us drink dirty water.
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