Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Who's Afraid of Environmental Disaster?

Mikaela says:
Not the scientists interviewed for yesterday's article in the New York Times ("Water Returned to Lake Contains Toxic Chemicals" -- buried in the Science section, tellingly)! These must be the same guys who swear up and down all day til Friday that there's no such thing as global warming, either. All of a sudden, nature can handle anything! Just takes time.

Tell that to people who've devoted their lives to raising awareness of the long-term, lingering, toxic effects of chemicals on neighborhoods and entire communities.

Yeah, the answer is definitely: wait for a while. Not -- phase out harmful chemicals that we all have sitting under our sinks and that are now mixing with sewage, decaying bodies, and oil in New Orleans and soon to be pumped into the Mexican gulf. Don't be ridiculous (even though the very scientists interviewed say it's a good thing we've phased out the even more noxious domestic chemicals...). And we certainly can't blame anyone, oh, let's say the EPA or FEMA, for not seeing ahead of time that we should prepare to be able to filter the water before pumping back into the lake and on to the oceans. Who could have known? Scientists? Planners? Nah.

Let's see. We knew the levees would not withstand a level 4 hurricane. Response? Cut funding. We knew that if they broke, New Orleans would flood and eventually need pumping. Response? Hah! Why do we need a response? Nature can handle it! Eventually. Just give her a few hundred years. Don't have that much time? Come on! Take the long view of history! This is science after all, not sociology! Jeez.

The Washington Post reports that Louisiana State officials just took the first sample to find out what all is in the water. Expect results later in the week. Well, that is to say, they will know the results later in the week. Good thing the EPA's not doing it, or I suspect we might not ever actually get to see the results, if 9-11 air pollution samples are any indication of the Agency's willingness to share information with the people affected... I would hope the State might do a better job.

Interesting that there's no mention of the EPA doing testing... More lack of planning and response, I guess. To be expected but still reprehensible. They must be about ready to perform sepuku about this one...