Dueling Lists

In an exercise meant to denigrate the left's credibility, the well-known, conservative Heritage Foundation cites "six environmental truths that Liberals conveniently ignore."

The six "neglected truths" are: economic freedom with minimal regulation produces better environmental results; natural resources are not running out, and there is no end in sight; our air is cleaner and safer; water quality is doing quite well; the federal government owns too much land and is a poor steward, especially compared to private interests; and reducing carbon emissions is too costly, and for good measure, ineffectual and unnecessary.

Well, here are six environmental truths that the Heritage Foundation ignores, whether out of ignorance or design. First, a permissive regulatory climate may initially spur commerce, but inevitably at the cost of environmental disaster. The conservative think tank's attention is called to China.

Second, the earth has a limited amount of agriculturally productive land, and shortages loom because of urban encroachment, burgeoning human population growth, and climate-change related drought.

Third, although overall air quality trends have improved, more than 147 million Americans still reside in counties with unhealthy air. Furthermore, nationwide ozone pollution worsened between 2010 and 2012, the time period containing the latest data. Perhaps most troubling of all, dozens of industrial toxic air pollutants have yet to be monitored.

Forth, According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), based on samplings, an estimated 51 percent of the nation's rivers and streams are "impaired" as are 67 percent of our lakes and ponds.

Fifth, federal stewardship of public lands is a saving grace in many instances. Two conspicuous examples -- without Everglades National Park's reservoir storage capacity, heavily populated South Florida would lack an adequate drinking water supply. Without the establishment of a national seashore in its midst, Massachusetts' Cape Cod would lose much of its famed aesthetic allure.

Sixth, the proliferation of human-generated carbon emissions accelerates global warming, which in turn triggers heat and air pollution that threaten human health and climate variability. Accordingly, the EPA has found that curbing these emissions would result in substantial monetary benefits through medical savings, increased agricultural productivity and less property damage because of diminished storm intensity.

Clearly, there is more to the Heritage Foundation's "environmental truths" than first meets the eye. A sorely needed revision of the organization's notion of what fully constitutes an "environmental truth" would thus seem in order. It is advice the conservative think tank should not ignore, conveniently or otherwise.