Environment getting better? | VailDaily.com

Environment getting better?

Don Rogers

In many ways the U.S. environment has improved over the past 30 years. Imagine that?

So says the Environmental Protectionn Agency in a report issued this week, noting successes and failures while the population since 1970 increased 39 percent, energy consumption grew by 42 percent, and vehicles miles traveled stretched 149 percent.

In that time span, air pollution shrunk 25 percent, and the quality of the nation’s water and land appear to also be improving or holding their own. Oh, and Americans live healthier and longer despite their stuggles with obesity, diet and, um, the environmental woes so drummed into their heads by all those folks so convinced we’re all headed to hell in a handbasket.

Oh, but the environmentalist critics of the report point out, what about global warming? Sure the air, land and water have largely gotten better. But humans are ruining it all with their impact on climatic conditions.

And what of politics in all this?

Good questions. The scientists at the EPA and the politicians in the Bush administration did wrangle over a part of the EPA study that laid blame on the human touch in the global warming phenomenon. The earth has and will again go through warming cycles (and cooling spells) on its own. But the scientists acknowledged man’s influence in this period of warming.

The Bushies objected and the question of the effect of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases will wait on another study by a government task force focusing on the subject.

Much work remains, of course, but the picture is one of improvement on the pollution front, at least in the United States. Thank improvements in technologly, as well as action over the past 30 years.

VP wings in

That damn Cheney, hanging up traffic at the Eagle interchange on his way from the airport last Friday night to the World Forum in Beaver Creek. You would have thought some poor pedestrian got run over crossing from Conoco, where the Greyhounds pull in for a break, to the Amoco across the street, where some passengers always dash for a sandwich.

But nope, just the vice president, inexplicably riding in an ambulance sandwiched by a bunch of SUVs. Conservative leaders from around the world gathered for the annual conference at Beaver Creek.

The forum’s stock has risen since George W. took office and the so-called “neocons” gained influence. Who knows what seeds of the future were sown last weekend? D.R.

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