Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Loss of Capacity

There is a frightful loss of capacity occurring in the halls of non governmental environmental protection organizations.  The baseless attacks on science, a poor economy,  and dying support for government's strong protection policies has led this nation's non profit groups to the brink of destruction.  Advocacy groups are being gutted because the American public has forgotten, amidst corporate media's relentless ignorance and biased reporting, the great institutions that once helped lead the world in the fight for clean air, water and landscapes.  In fact the whole issue of global warming has disappeared in America even while the rest of the world nation's working hard to address it.  Just turn on the TV and see the ads vomited forth by the oil, gas and coal industries.  The NGOs just cant counter that expenditure of funds.
Sunday the Albuquerque Journal did its part with a story on the costs of clean air requirements mandated upon PNM at the San Juan coal fired Generating Plant.  The story was well written but its whole direction was that we cant really afford to clean the air.  I would love to see the reporters first drafts before the right wing editors got a hold of them.

It is certainly okay to have this debate.  The slant of the article, however, is right in line with the Journal's stance on power costs.  Usually they love to hate PNM and its rate requests.  Now they have teamed up with them to fight these environmental requirements that would make our skies less hazy and increase the publishing companies electric bills.

Back in 1971 I won a local journalism award for my stories on the pollution coming from all of the Four Corners plants.  The owners said they could not afford to fix things.  They were mandated to come up to state of the art scrubbers.  They worked, the companies are still in business.   But now they will need to improve even more and they can do that too. I agree that these decisions come at a difficult time given the unemployment problems in this country, but the public health, safety and welfare should always trump corporate profits.  Shouldn't they?


Anonymous said...

Here's a thought, Jim: it's important for environmental advocates to tell the stories of WHY these fights are so critical. They're certainly not about just having bluer skies to look at. People in the four corners area breathe in worse air quality than in smoggy New York City because of the multiple coal-fired power plants in the area - and that results in drastically higher rates of asthma among kids in the Four Corners. This isn't about some abstract, feel-good tree-hugging; there are real environmental injustices at hand and too often those stakes are under-stated by activists in the environmental movement.

Abq Dude said...

Consumers and non-profits can't win the energy fight no matter what. Big oil simply dominates the commercials with all their "do good" propaganda, and their ad and lobbying money stores are substantial.

As for the Journal, I recently stopped my subscription and it felt so good.