Earth Day will be coming up soon - in mid-April, Tom.
LA, you prompt me to think back on celebrating the 1st Earth Day by attending the seminars and such at North Idaho College. I hadn't lived here long and was a little dismayed over, what seemed to me to be, a lack of interest in the environment. My wife and I sat right up close in one of these so that I could hear what the PR man from Bunker Hill Mining had to say about the river.
The guy had the most expensive suit that I had ever seen. It made me wonder what group of the public he was attempting to impress. He wanted to tell us about the $$ Bunker Hill had put into a scrubber on their smelter.
I had a question about the Coeur d'Alene River. The moderator called on me and I told him about the difference between the river upstream and how it left his industrial site. Mr. Bunker Hill told me about the scrubber. I asked why money wasn't being spent controlling runoff into the river. He said that the shareholders in the company wouldn't be likely to approve the cost. My followup was that the citizens of Idaho had a stake in that river.
Well folks, that was in 1970. By 1983 Bunker Hill wasn't paying anything for clean-up either. The taxpayers were and are in one of the largest Superfund sites in the US!
The State of Idaho? Oh, the state government has fought the superfund designation from the get-go! After all, it discourages folks from visiting and enjoying winter skiing and that sort of thing.
The state legislature did something to protect another industry. I had left off working for the bluegrass farmers several years before and was kind of dismayed that I'd been involved in the burning of hundreds of acres of cropland after each harvest. The EPA wanted that whole thing monitored and I thought, more power to them. The state kicked the props out from under the scheme by taking over the pollution monitoring and then refusing to fund it. That shut the program down. Weellll, a federal judge shut the industry down, too! If the law says so much pollution is allowed but there's no way to know when that is exceeded - industry curtailed!
Oh boy! Some very unhappy money guys who thought they'd end-run the feds by getting their boys & girls in the state legislature to "stand their ground" in support of state jawbz! It was a big mistake electing those idiots!
It takes people working together to preserve our environments. Generally, we call that "government." I hope we all have dreams of clean air and pure water.