Saturday, July 7, 2012

Amazing dishonesty from George Will

George Will, a conservative columnist, wrote a widely-distributed column this week lamenting the possibility that new EPA rules might cause a Navajo-owned coal power plant to shut down.  He states (correctly) that new equipment to make the plant less polluting would cost $1.1 billion, possibly bankrupting the plant.  He goes on to claim that the benefit being sought by the EPA is to improve visibility at national parks near the plant.

$1.1 billion so a few treehuggers can see a little better seems ridiculous, right?  Will even throws in a good ol' tug at the heart strings by bringing up the "economic and social damage [of the EPA's decision] on Native Americans, who over the years have experienced quite enough of that at Washington’s hands."

Of course, his entire premise is complete bullshit.  Yes, it's true that $1.1 billion for clearer sight lines is silly.  But that's far from the only benefit to be had from tighter pollution controls.  An article linked to in the body of Will's own column states that an EPA study shows that every dollar of spending on pollution controls generates $30 to $86 in benefits.  Will neglects to mention that the same pollution controls would improve health (and therefore save medical dollars and worker productivity and such) in addition to maintaining clear visibility.

I would love to ask Mr. Will, who claims to stand for personal responsibility and property rights, why he thinks this power plant should be allowed to pump out pollution that causes economic harm to others.  If he thinks the science is flawed, he should argue against it, not just try to sweep it under the rug.

1 comment:

TableTopJoe said...

I think you hit the nail on the head in the last paragraph.