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Dirty Air, Dirty Water examines the science and politics of some disturbing aspects of Maine programs for protecting public air and water.
It is a tale of close ties among environmental, public-health, and industrial representatives, where both Maine and Federal policy seem often to be subrogated to profits for the automotive, fuel, and chemical industries.
It reveals how science is ignored in promoting two ineffective schemes to clean up ozone pollution of the air we breathe in Maine: (1) testing automobiles (CARTEST), and (2) utilizing gasoline oxygenated with Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE).
It explains how inadequate science justifies public-health policy -- policy that benefits industry which lobbies aggressively in Maine -- policy that misleads persons who suffer from bad air into believing something significant is being done for them.
It shows how industry and government have succeeded in shifting, from the polluter to the poor and middle-class taxpayer, much of the financial burden of "cleaning up" the air. It documents implementation of this burden-shifting policy by Maine public-health and environmental-protection officials.
It reports the presence of MTBE in ground water all over the United States, and how it has contaminated and closed seven of Santa Monica, California's eleven city wells.
On certain lobbying practices that today escape regulation in Maine, it recommends: public disclosure of credentials of witnesses before the state legislature; testimony under oath; disclosure and identification of fees paid to witnesses; and banning political contributions from corporations.
It recommends environmentally-friendly alternatives to ineffective or dangerous, industry/EPA-endorsed, ozone-reduction practices that utilize CARTEST, or use gasoline diluted with Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE]. (Public testimony before the Maine and California Legislatures ascribes human suffering and illness to MTBE in gasoline.)
It proposes protecting Maine against arbitrary financial sanctions by federal officials who have threatened to punish Maine if it were to choose to protect air and water with safer, more effective means that may differ from those advocated by industry and by the state and federal governments. It recommends repeal by citizen referendum of Maine's own abusive law that can criminalize a citizen attempt to apprise a grand jury of official wrongdoing.
Dirty Air, Dirty Water will acquaint citizens and public officials with information useful in responding to "spins" that industry and government place on certain "clean air" policies -- policies that benefit industrial wealth, but are hazardous to public health.
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