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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Something Stinks

Remember to call your local elected officials for the increased likelihood of an early death caused by the pollution they've encouraged. Sure, some city and county commissioners have tried to reduce pollution by opposing urban sprawl and heavy polluting industries like the Florida Rock cement plant, but most have gleefully and consistently supported growth at all costs.

Now we have confirmation of one of those costs – our lives. Researchers at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies released a study this week that says pollution increases related to automobiles, power plants and industries are linked to higher death rates, particularly in cities.

The Alachua County Commission in particular is a prime suspect when it comes to pollution increases. For all but four years of the commission's entire history, it has been dominated by commissioners who rubber-stamped every proposed development and industry that came along. They are responsible for the traffic congestion that snarls the west side of town most of the day, for the growth mismanagement that has spread gated communities across the county in ways the require people to drive everywhere, for railroading through the Florida Rock cement plant, and for opposing citizen efforts to enforce clean air standards.

Keep this in mind when you hear a developer-backed candidate for city or county commission bleat about the need for economic development, to keep local government off the backs of business or to balance environmental policies with business interests. Those are codes words to the people who make money from real estate development that these candidates, if elected, will be happily compliant with all proposals to further dirty our air.

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