California to New York

california to new yorkWe certainly have enough naysayers in the environmental field – critics of legislators and bashers of regulators; bloggers on superfunding, fracking and petrochemicals in general. Writers are ensured of sympathy from a public now saturated with the environmental ideal. Of course if you have dedicated your lifelong career to the nuts-and-bolts of a clean earth, whether on the review side or the proposal side, it all begins to sound like so much peanut-gallery palaver.

I recently noted a six-month study of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) by Consumer Watchdog.* In a profound example of public flagellation, they concluded that:

“…it is clear that the DTSC is falling down on the job. We have some of the toughest environmental laws in the nation, and some of the weakest enforcement. The DTSC epitomizes this problem, allowing serial polluters to cut deals with the department out of court time and again instead of revoking their permits, letting polluters operate on expired permits for years at a time, and levying wrist-slap penalties instead of applying maximum fines. The DTSC sits on its hands while hazardous waste management companies and large-scale generators of hazardous waste poison communities.”

Pretty stong words based on a 6-month review. Let us ignore for a moment that the very foundations of reason (remember logic’s rule of thumb: if this, then that) have been ignored here to reach the most extreme conclusion. Let us accept for a moment that one state at least is hopelessly mired in financial interests. What would it mean for New York State, where this author lives and works? Perhaps we could do a 6-month study, and conclude we have some of the “weakest” environmental laws, with some of the “toughest” enforcement.

Sorry, but such broad-brush statements and foregone conclusions are anathema to me, having cut my teeth and been raised on the meat of rational environmental reporting.

Let me say simply that the balance of economic interests and environmental ideals is never simple, and in consequence it is not the stuff of simpletons. You have only to look at election-year debating to understand that we all share economic (if not survival) interests, and we all share quality-of-life (fresh air and clean water) concerns.

Healthy business brings us groceries each day and lumber for that bedroom addition; a healthy environment guarantees our children a healthy life. The decisions that balance both economics and environment are brought about sometimes by extreme soul-searching, sometimes by dead reckoning, sometimes after years of Environmental Impact Analysis, but always by an excruciating process of give-and-take.

Try it sometime. The next time you are tempted to express a critical view, instead step into the lion’s den yourself. Participate in the process. You can guarantee that a balanced view is the end result, because you are indeed a part of the problem, and you are a part of the solution.

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/golden-wasteland-report


Posted in Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Transformation

TRANSFORMING…dreams to reality, tragedy to triumph, waste to beauty.

When the twin towers fell, so many of us held our breath. What was next? Had we lost some of our own? Where was the world headed?

honor guardSince the dust settled, over these many years, we have learned to breathe again, and to breathe deep in the face of one crisis after another. As a global community now, we identify with the calamities our brothers and sisters endure, though so far removed, through the miracle of hi-definition recordings and ubiquitous playback. We are confronted daily with the unthinkable – are forced to rethink our paradigm – and we continue to step off into the future daily, sometimes with an uncertainty that is hard to overcome.
But we do.

Impact and Krapf Resurrect a 9.11 Artifact

The late John Krapf, a builder and contractor from the Lehigh Valley area, came up with the idea of turning a number of slabs from the ruined subwalls of the World Trade Center into memorials of hope. Impact Environmental, a New York based environmental remediation company intimately involved with Ground Zero restoration, worked with Mr. Krapf to preserve 11 concrete relics, with a vision to create 11 sculptures destined for 11 US cities coast to coast.

This vision, like so many dreams of restoration since 9-11, came to fruition recently when the first of the 11 planned sculptures was welcomed to its temporary home in Bethlehem, PA. Visitors and close observers of the sculpture will find engravings in binary code (0s and 1s) on the peaks of two concrete aggregate branches forming a victorious “V”, reflecting a triumphant rebirth of the twin towers. The 0s and 1s are a reassembling of the digits for the 10th anniversary and the 11th day of the month.
Christened “Victorii Rebuild”, the sculpture is for now a part of the South Bethlehem Greenway. This is a fitting tribute to the resilience of the families left behind, the vision of one man who has now passed on, and the dedicated work of one company among many who honor the loss of so many vibrant lives with a memorial drawn up from the ruins. Here is the substance of what has passed, standing as a testament for the many who live on.
ott
2/12/2013

View a History in Photos – From Concept to Dedication: For an ebook  by Impact Environmental, email social@impactenvironmental.com.


Posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.