Letter: West Wrong About EPA

According to last week’s Town-Crier report of Allen West’s recent presentation in Royal Palm Beach (“Congressman Allen West Meets With Voters In Royal Palm Beach”), he told his audience that new EPA regulations on water runoff will be costly to taxpayers, especially farmers. Organic wastes such as sewage and farm waste impose high oxygen demands on the receiving water, leading to oxygen depletion with potentially severe impacts on the whole eco-system.

Like other Republicans (Rep. Rooney and Sen. Rubio) who strongly oppose EPA regulations, West does not address the real costs to taxpayers; that of higher costs required to provide potable drinking water, water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long-term harm. The worse the pollutants in water runoff, the higher the cost to water plants, and ultimately to consumers, in producing quality drinking water.

It seems to me that the high costs of producing potable drinking water and, more ultimately, human health, should be the greater reason for requiring reduction in runoff pollutants. Instead, West tells farmers that it will be too costly to them to reduce pollutants. Republicans in the past have also used scare tactics, warning about the increased cost to consumers, passed on by water plants.

West and other Republicans also use similar arguments against EPA requirements for reduction of pollutants in air quality. Again, they stress the cost to the polluting corporations as too great to bear.

Cost-benefits of EPA regulations vary with reports. Science Daily says water pollution costs at least $4.3 billion a year. An EPA study regarding the benefits and cost of the 1990 Clean Air Act estimates its direct benefits will reach almost $2 trillion for the year 2020, dwarfing the direct cost of $65 billion for implementation. It estimates that 230,000 early deaths will be prevented. According to www.thinkprogress.org, the combined costs of the rules finalized by the Obama administration’s EPA would amount to less than 0.1 percent of the economy.

West never addresses the cost to human life and the healthcare system for illnesses related to water pollution from contaminants in water (and, yes, water other than that we drink as well) or those related to air pollution such as asthma, heart and lung disease. Instead, West, again stands on the side of the polluters.

Patricia Abbott, Royal Palm Beach