EPA Letters, Air Quality, and Politics

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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As noted by WFPL back in September, Mayor Fischer refused to join other mayors in calling on the EPA to set stricter smog standards. The current standards of 75 parts-per-billion for ozone have been in place since 2008, but the EPA is under court orders to update them. The Sierra Club asked mayors across the country to sign, and 70 of them did so, including the mayors of New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles.

But not the mayor of Louisville.

At the time, there was speculation by some that this was a political move, meant to keep the Mayor on the good side of energy companies. Some even claimed it was “proof” that he was going to run for Senate.

And while political gamesmanship is fun and all, this speculation missed the real question:

How is the air quality in Louisville, and what are we doing about it?

The Air Pollution Control Board was flipped upside down and shuffled like dice at a craps table just a few years ago. What has happened since? Has the air gotten cleaner, or not? Has the monitoring gotten better, or not? Is the city serious about clean air, or not?

I have no idea if the Mayor refused to support this initiative out of political motives, or because he just didn’t feel it was worth his time. I disagree with his decision, but the letter has been sent and the moment has passed.

What hasn’t passed is the ongoing fight to maintain and improve our environment and the city we leave to our children. That fight (and it IS a fight) is what we should be keeping in front of us, not whether a particular letter is signed or not.

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