Tom Ewing’s Environmental Report

* On September 28 US EPA announced that Cincinnati and Columbus met the Clean Air Act requirements to be declared in attainment with the 2008 ozone standard! Wow! That’s significant for two metro areas that have struggled with ozone for 40 years. Two days later, on September 30, OEPA Director Craig Butler sent a letter to USEPA telling the feds that Cincinnati and Columbus would be nonattainment for the new 2015 standard. Here’s the thing: nobody cares – just the way US EPA wants it because then the whole ozone empire, and all of the wealth that gets sucked into endless studies and legal foggery and lawsuits and health claims stays on autopilot. Very helpful for retirement planning, if you’re inside the fortress.

* You’ve heard, of course, of Ozone Park, the neighborhood in Queens, in New York City? What’s in a name, right? Well, consider this: Ozone Park was chosen, in the 1880s, to “lure buyers with the idea of refreshing breezes blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean to a park-like community, with ozone meaning not the alternate form of oxygen,” but “fresh healthy air, especially from the sea.” (Thank you Whikipedia!) All dat, right dere in Queens, whoodda thawt?

* At the end of September FHWA published a request for comments about how current laws pertaining to commercial activities at Interstate rest areas should be interpreted and applied in “consideration of advancements in technology and the interests of the States.” You likely know that trade organizations for the gas station and convenience store industries keep a VERY close eye on such ideas. Here’s one concern: the foot-in-the-door theory, i.e., using Interstate facilities to help assure fueling for the few vehicles, now, that use electricity or hydrogen or butane, a customer base of no value to the otherwise delightful commerce so predictable at every Interstate exit. Within its text FHWA posits a sample idea: maybe rest areas should allow sales of local produce. Yeah, right. Can’t you just see an Amish hitch trotting along the shoulder of I-80 with a load of pumpkins for the Thanksgiving crowd and all the friendly peeps backed up for a couple of miles or so as those big Belgians back into the right retail slot?

Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing