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Lost in the Ozone

Today, you lowly respirators, is the first day of ozone season. Which means if you are an asthmatic, child/elder, or immune-compromised of any age, you have to start paying attention to the dusty skies each morning.

Or you can dial in to the Metro Planning Org or multi-agency air quality reporting source, AirNow, for the day's breathing possibilities.

Already today there are nasty-looking patches in El Paso and Lubbock.

It wasn't that long ago that numbskull TCEQ Commissioner Buddy Garcia was crowing about San Anto slipping under the EPA's radar for ozone attainment, though all of us on the ground know to thank a particularly kind summer instead of anything we actually did. I mean a small fleet of Priui don't solve urban heat and smog. That's not to say it's not moving the right direction, let's just say that by the time the three-year average rolls over us again next year we'll still be kissing last summer's cloud cover.

Meanwhile, McCain and Clinton are pimping out our clean air with late political pledges of a gas tax holy day -- Jubilee JuJubee, even. Of course, the economists are with Obama on this one:

From the Washington Post:

Backing up Obama’s position against Clinton’s proposal to suspend the 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax for the summer is a slew of economists who argue that the proposal, first offered by Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, would be counterproductive. They argue that cutting the tax would drive up demand for gas at a time when the supply is tight, which would mean that the price at the pump would drop by much less than 18 cents per gallon.

The tax suspension would, as a result, cut into the highway trust fund that the tax supports, a loss of about $9 billion over the summer, but also result in fatter profit margins for oil companies. Clinton says she would replace the lost revenue by raising taxes on the oil industry.

Harvard professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who has written a best-selling textbook on economics, said what he teaches is different from what Clinton and McCain are saying about gas taxes. “What you learn in Economics 101 is that if producers can’t produce much more, when you cut the tax on that good the tax is kept . . . by the suppliers and is not passed on to consumers,” he said



So just as I was thinking all the T-SIK commishes and White House occupantings were idiotas, Asher Price at the Statesman reminded me of "lonely" Larry Soward, who made a priceless speech at the just-concluded three-day seminar on climate change and Texas waters. It won't make you proud to be from Texas, but it will give you a sense of why we need more noisemakers in the state.

So, with a nod to Price, I offer you Soward's words...(in PDF)

Posted by Greg Harman on 5/1/2008
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