The Wonk Salon, September 18, 2011

Feds and State Must Cooperate to Save the BayGovernment Accountability Office

The federal government is basing its save-the-bay policy on The Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. State policy is based upon Chesapeake 2000 Agreement. Feds and states need to get on the same page.

Denser Cities Mean More Concentrated Pollution
Heritage Foundation
Densification of cities will not reduce air pollution. Even if it reduces automobile traffic overall, it concentrates that traffic in a smaller geographic area. Pollution is worse in the densest cities, not better.

Statewide Smoking Bans: Not Much Effect on Heart Attacks
Journal of Community Health
Statewide smoking bans have no measurable effect on the incidence of heart attacks. (Cancer is quite a different matter!)

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10 responses to “The Wonk Salon, September 18, 2011”

  1. They laulghied at me when I said denser cities meant more concentrated pollution.

  2. yeah but look who is making that claim …. the Heritage Hooters….

    just about anything those folks says these days you have to take with a grain of salt and a suspicious eye…..

    check out their report – and it’s references… they list Fredericksburg, Va as part of their analysis…. huh?

  3. Nevertheless, they are correct on one point.

  4. well… density concentrates pollution – it’s not inherently more pollution on a per capita basis – it’s actually less.

    if you think about that -you’ll realize what the Heritage folks real agenda is and it’s not about pollution or efficient settlement patterns.

    the more I get to know Heritage the more I realize that they are among the leaders in promulgating misinformation and outright propaganda and draping it in legitimacy by codifying it as a “study” when that “study” is nothing of the kind but in most cases – is cherry-picked data out of context out of other REAL studies and in more than a few instances, what the Heritage “concludes” from the Study they cite is not what the authors of the study itself conclude.

    I can see when an outside source would review a study and disagree with the authors conclusions and cite their reasons but when you use that study as a footnote reference to your own “study” and you write a different conclusion – you are no longer an objective source of information.

    been there, done that.. the Heritage folks define dishonesty, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda all to support their agenda.

    there are liberal think tanks that are just as guilty but I don’t trust either of them and consider most of what they do as self-serving and inherently dishonest media.

  5. Wendell Cox is making a legitimate point — when you concentrate development, you concentrate pollution to the point where air quality standards for pollutants like Nitrogen Oxide can fail to meet the standard. Look, I’m a big advocate of density, but that point is often overlooked. I think the evidence will show that density is more energy efficient overall and reduces emissions of pollutants overall, which is a point that the left-of-center think tanks make. Are they spreading “misinformation” and “propaganda” when they fail to observe that concentrating the development also concentrates the pollution?

    Both sides make valid points. I don’t see any good coming from accusing them of misinformation, disinformation and propaganda.

  6. it’s just a stealth way of repeating the concept that dilution is the solution to pollution.

    and let me give an example. There’s an air quality monitoring station in Caroline County Va that routinely exceeds air quality standards – as bad as urban areas.


  7. well… density concentrates pollution – it’s not inherently more pollution on a per capita basis – it’s actually less.

    It is not true that pollution it is less on a per capita basis in urban areas. It is true that urran dwellers buy less energy on a per capita basis, and this would lead one to think there is less pollution. But that is incorrect because it ignores all the other sources of pollution. That issue has not been studied yet, but based on total energy usage, it isn;t hard to predict an answer.

    Besides, the Per Capita number is of no significance whatever, it is the concentration that gets you. If the concentration is 100 PPM, then it is 100 PPM for every individual. Whereas if you know the total load is 100 tons and there are 2 million people you can calculate an amount per person (0.1 lb per person) which has nothing to do with the concentration.

    Except for bioaccumulators, dilution IS a solution for pollution, since at low enough levels the odds of any effect are small. Sequstration, is another approach, but if you think about it, all this amounts to is another method of reducing the concentration, (increasing the dilution) in the biosphere. (by creating a sequestered space that is deliberaely not habitable).

    It is also possible to react the chemicals and turn them into something else, preferaqbley something inert. Unfortunately such reactions are never 100% and they take energy and other resources to make happen. The end result again is more dilution in the biosphere.

    So, you see, dilution IS the solution to pollution, and the old popular saw is simply bad information.

  8. There are thirteen PM10 monitors operating in Virginai taking samples every third day. There are six PM2.5 monitors of which four are intermittent and two are continuous.

    There is only one capables of speciation, that can give some indication of what kinds of particulates are sampled.

    All of them are in or near urban areas, probably partly because of manpower to perate them. Plus, that is where the most people are, and the most pollution.

    That only covers particulate matter, not chemical species such as SOx, NOx,Ozone, Hydrocarbons, etc. The DEQ site gives no information on how many sites are operated, or where.

  9. cities export electricity pollution to the rural power plants and they export river pollution to downstream locations.

    hybrid electrics are going to take a while in the hinterlands but hybrid electrics in a city are going to be the de-facto mobility of choice… if they can go 40 miles on a “fillup” and the average person travels less than 40 miles a day.

    and the fillup cost will make them a no-brainer choice.

  10. the Caroline County monitor is rural ..but along side of I-95 and routinely violates air quality standards.

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