Hiram Perry: About EPA Science

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Hiram Perry: About EPA Science

6/13/99Science Matters! (So Does Truth And Common Sense)
by Hiram Perry
About EPA Science
A friend told me recently, "Maine newspapers are ok, but their science writing is way off target, and is often in error". I had to agree. As a veteran journalist of some 40 years, I turned to studies of environmental science some 15 years ago. For accuracy and depth of information in my writing, I turn to 15 or so scientists widely respected in their specialties. Maine papers seem to report EPA and DEP science initiatives as being correct. Usually such science reports are incorrect.For instance, the government's endorsement of the global warming theory so upset some 16,000 scientists, that they signed a petition, saying in part, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases, are causing or will cause any catastrophic warming of the earth's surface.Those who wanted to believe in the threat of global warming ridiculed these 16,000 scientists. Only recently a senior Maine DEP official said they were not competent scientists. I know quite well one of the two scientists who did this competent survey. It was a very competent survey. I am assured that the vast majority of these scientists held advanced degrees in atmospheric physics, meteorology, oceanology, geology and other pertinent fields. We have the list of 20 or so scientists from Maine who were among these 16,000 scientists.In any study of temperature, solar activity must be considered. Solar activity causes temperature variations on Mother Earth and it always has. No debate here. Recent solar activity has caused earth temperatures to rise.Another science report that is riddled with errors are the ozone and particulate matter levels. Sometime ago the EPA put together a science advisory board (SAB) to review their numerous proposed regulations. They have recently reviewed the EPA's ozone and particulate matter regulations, and they have been rejected. No matter, the EPA ignored this SAB rejection, as they have done in many others in the past. This ozone and particulate matter initiative was estimated by EPA itself to project a cost to the American public of some $25 billion. However, a recent court ruling in Washington, D.C. threw out these EPA regulations. This enraged environmentalists coast to coastThe true story about ozone is not known to the average science writer. Here the very simple fact is that most ozone is created by forests and farm crops. Dr. Phil Abelson, an editor of that great magazine, Science, told me in an interview, that forests produce 2 to 4 times as much ozone as do human activity. And for a very simple reason; trees produce isoprene, an unsaturated hydrocarbon from which Mother Nature easily makes ozone, much more ozone than we humans could ever generate.Dr. Michael Coffman of Bangor, agrees with Dr. Abelson, saying " The production of ozone from our forests is enormous, compared to what we humans create from our cars, industry or whatever".Reducing particulate matter truly amuses me. It's impossible in Maine and some attempts could be downright dangerous. Why? First, our woods, our swamps, and farm land tends to load the air you breath with pollen, lots of it in various seasons. One asthma specialist tells me, as does my asthmatic granddaughter, "Its the pollen that bothers me". Ozone can be something of an irritant to humans, but a friend with severe asthma tells me "We can treat that irritant". Los Angeles is known to have many, many times the ozone levels we have here in Maine. But they have had no more severe illnesses than any other American city, a recent survey tells us.Another particulate matter situation comes from sanding our road. So many times when I am driving our Maine roads, passing traffic will generate clouds of sand which will fill the air. Shall we crease sanding our roads in icy weather? Sanding our road in such weather is the lesser of two evils.Obviously its time to stop the false science and time to bring some common sense to environmental initiatives that are not needed, like global warming and the EPA's ozone and particulate matter control program.Hiram Perry, 6 Miles Rd., Newburgh, Maine 04444 Tel. (207)234-2890/Fax 234-2940