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Dark chocolate

February 25, 2007

Public radio program This American Life rebroadcast Episode 307 yesterday (2/24/07), “In the Shadow of the City,” originally aired a scoche over a year ago on 2/3/06.  The third segment, “Yes, In My Backyard,” caught my ear partly because it dealt with chocolate (my readers know that’s one of my faves to write about) and partly because it infuriated me that the EPA would crack down on a chocolate factory (Blommer, which has been in business since 1939) but not on coal burners that emit oh-so-much-more carbon.  Go figure.

Here’s TAL’s summary of the story:

Act Three. Yes, In My Backyard. The story of the government cracking down on smokestack emissions at a city factory … even though the residents LIKE the emissions. We hear from Jorge Just, who explains the one, magical, special secret about Chicago no one outside Chicago ever believes is true, from Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs for the American Lung Association in Chicago, and the Manager of Compliance and Enforcement for the Bureau of Air at the Illinois State EPA, Julie Armitage. (9 minutes)

Song: “The Land of Chocolate,” by Death by Chocolate

Meantime, Bloomberg reports today that Texas power giant TXU is on the verge of doing an about-face.  Its prospective buyers, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Texas Pacific Group, have seen the light and are putting the kibosh on eight out of 11 coal-fired generators TXU was going to build. That’s a good start for the company that brazenly had planned to add to the CO2 problem while other energy leaders were chastising it for looking backward with regard to sources of energy capacity. Under pressure from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, among others, the company also “will devote $400 million to cutting power demand in Texas, pleasing environmental groups that favor conservation,” according to the Bloomberg story.

EPA, are you listening? This is where your regulatory and enforcement efforts should be trained — on reducing use of coal. Not on a chocolate factory.

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