In a newsletter to her constituents today, Vicky Hartzler boasts about her vote on the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, a bill designed to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing rules regarding pollution from cement plants. Though she mentions the cost of compliance and the potential loss of jobs for plants that can’t or won’t comply, she doesn’t say a word about the type of pollution that the EPA is trying to curb.
The EPA’s new rules on cement plants are designed to reduce emissions of mercury. Exposure to mercury causes a variety of health problems, including damaging brain development in young children, but Hartzler is careful to never mention the word “mercury” when discussing her dislike for the new EPA rules. The EPA estimates that the rules Hartzler is fighting against would save billions of dollars in health care costs and save thousands of lives. Again, Hartzler doesn’t mention that, but she does cite a statement from a Mexican-owned cement corporation.
The House has passed the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to reissue rules and standards on the cement industry to allow businesses to realistically comply. This current proposed requirement is yet another job-destroying government intrusion into the free market. Texas-based CEMEX USA says if the current Cement MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) rules are allowed to go into effect about 18 to 20 cement plants will close down because they will not be able to comply with new regulations. Furthermore, the Portland Cement Association has warned Congress about the direct loss of up to 4,000 jobs after the rules are implemented. The EPA, itself, says these rules would cost the industry $2.2 billion to implement. It is unconscionable that when so many Americans are looking for work, the EPA would enforce rules that make it nearly impossible for job creators to operate and grow their businesses. I urge the Senate to quickly take up this legislation and pass it.
When there’s a conflict between the bottom line of a big corporation and the health of her constituents, Vicky Hartzler can be counted on to fight for the corporation, allowing them to pollute our land and water and poison our children.
Update: Home Depot responded to the blog posting I sent them. They don’t seem to have read it particularly carefully because they wrote:
We would like to inform you that The Home Depot has recently launched a national in-store compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb recycling program. We apologize that the Ferguson Home Depot store have not started the program for recycling compact fluorescent bulbs.
The problem was more than that one store. The problem was that in a given store, the left hand and the right hand were offering different pronouncements about whether they took CFLs.
But the letter did offer this concrete piece of information: “We would also like to inform you that this program was developed to recycle CFL bulbs and not fluorescent tubes.”
Yesterday the fluorescent tube in the light over our kitchen sink began flickering and had to be replaced. I’ve been planning to pass along to you the news that Home Depot now accepts burned out CFLs (or, as they prefer to call them “expired” CFLs), so that the mercury in them can be safely recycled. Before writing about that, I thought I’d find out whether Home Depot also accepts the tube type.
The answer is–as far as any fluorescent lights go–Kinda Sorta.
I don’t want to be too hard on Home Depot because at least their heart is in the right place on this issue, but so far their implementation reminds me of McCain’s advance press credential organization: the home office isn’t communicating with the on the ground operations.
The first store I called said they didn’t accept the bulbs. The second store I called, in Ferguson, said they did, but they had no idea how many of the other stores in the area are actually doing it. To find that out, they suggested I call the home office. I did. And got a lowly clerk who read me a statement from corporate HQ saying that all stores are doing it. She offered to lodge a complaint against the store that told me it wasn’t taking them.
Meanwhile, I had forgotten to find out if the Ferguson store would take the tubes as well as the CFLs, so I called back. “We don’t take them,” I was told the second time I called.
Let’s put it this way: sometime in the not too distant future, you can probably take expired CFLs in to Home Depot for recycling. Even that much is progress.
what’s the bigger danger to the American public: Al-Qaeda, or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)?
If you follow the conservative punditry, online or off, it’s a tough call. Today’s (April 24) “Mallard Fillmore” comic strip is just the latest example of conservativestaking aim at these energy-saving bulbs, focusing primarily on the fact that CFLs contain mercury.
McIntire-Strasburg points out how teeny the mercury content is, though–in fact, how teeny the whole issue is:
Regardless of the amount of mercury, CFLs, like other mercury-containing devices, can be disposed of safely.
The electricity produced to power an incandescent bulb from a coal-fired power plant will create 13.3 mg of mercury emissions (which is much more likely to end up in water, Mr. Tinsley).
Finally, there’s never been a $2000 cleanup required for a CFL breaking… ENERGY STAR has clear guidelines for cleaning up a broken CFL. There’s probably more danger of mercury poisoning from a tuna sandwich than from a broken CFL.
So, why all the fuss? You don’t have to read very far into any of the above-linked examples to realize that publications like WND, and commentators like Milloy, Sowell, and Tinsley have a political agenda partly based in a dislike/distrust of environmentalism, and partly based in reaction to legislation banning the use of incandescents. In other words, the treehuggers are trying to take away your freedom as consumers… and undermine the free market… and toss us all into the shackles of godless communism…
When you consider that CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescents, I wouldn’t so much say that using CFLs is a no brainer as I would say that Tinsley, Limbaugh, et. al. are no brainers.
Tell you what: hang onto any used CFLs for a month or two. That’s what I’m going to do with that burned out fluorescent tube. (And if it gets broken in the meantime, I won’t run screaming from the house.) Home Depot will probably get its program sorted out. In fact, I think I’ll mail a copy of this posting to their corporate headquarters.