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February 5, 2005

Bright, bright, sun-shiny day

Posted by Phil on February 5, 2005 7:48 AM

Today's forecast in Indianapolis is sunny, low 50s, but the whole region, from I'd say Chicago to Louisville to Cleveland, is under this new category of pollution alert--"fine particulate pollution" or something--because a stagnant, downward-pressed air mass has been stalled here for a week and all our microscopic airborne filth is piling up.

I usually ignore summer ozone alerts, but on the other hand, it's usually over 90 when they're issued, so it's not hard to retreat into the AC. Today it's a little tougher; it's the kind of day you want to bust outdoors, especially with a 3-yr-old, but they recommend avoiding or limiting outdoor activity. And although I am a robust young man in his 30s, I have pan-air allergies and chronic sinus infections, so we'll probably just have to seal the biodome, boost the oxymeter, and watch plasmavision from our isolated hydrotanks.

Of course, the pollution alert underscores the fact that it's not supposed to be 50 degrees in February anyway, and you have to have blinders on to think very much of such "beautiful weather" is a blessing. What kind of world have I brought kids into?

This kind:

The Environmental Protection Agency ignored scientific evidence and agency protocols in order to set limits on mercury pollution that would line up with the Bush administration's free-market approaches to power plant pollution, according to a report released yesterday by the agency's inspector general.

Staff at the EPA were instructed by administrators to set modest limits on mercury pollution, and then had to work backward from the predetermined goal to justify the proposal, according to a report by Inspector General Nikki Tinsley.

Mercury is a toxic metal released as a byproduct by coal-burning power plants and other industries, and it is known to have a range of harmful health effects, especially on young children and pregnant women.


"The political level made the decisions, and the staff did what they were told."


Industry welcomed the proposal, which involved lower costs and less burdensome regulations.

--Washington Post, 2/4/05