View in your browser.

Weekly John Locke Foundation research division newsletter focusing on environmental issues.

The newsletter highlights relevant analysis done by the JLF and other think tanks as well as items in the news.

1. With Gaston County suffering from a whopping 10.9 percent unemployment rate, environmental pressure groups oppose Gaston toll road because it may bring economic growth

The lead paragraph in this article from the Rocky Mount Telegram reads:

Environmental groups sued in federal court Tuesday to stop a proposed 22-mile toll road linking Gaston County and west Charlotte from moving ahead, saying environmental reviews were flawed and hid the project’s shortcomings.

And just what are those shortcomings? Well apparently the study assumes that the building of the road will not spur economic growth in the area and therefore increase traffic. In other words, if the study showed that the road would be accompanied by growth, that would be a clear negative for the project. (As an aside, I personally think that the study’s assumption is accurate, but wish it weren’t. To argue otherwise would be similar to claiming that the building of more maternity wards will increase pregnancies.)

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), a left wing public interest law firm representing a consortium of other far left environmental groups, is making a very specific complaint that is fundamentally based on the assumption that economic growth, and therefore the job creation that goes with it, is bad. Again the Rocky Mount Telegram reports that, according to SELC lawyers, "transportation agencies calculated the road’s impact based on the flawed assumption that transportation projects don’t induce growth."  (Oooooo! The horrors.)

To be fair, it should be pointed out that it isn’t the growth per se that the enviros are upset about; it is that these newly employed people in the area will have to have places to live and shop and take their kids to soccer games. The article quotes a June Blotnick from the Clean Air Coalition, a group that is part of the lawsuit:

the one thing we don’t need is a 22-mile highway bursting through our rural countryside increasing vehicle emissions and sprawl.

Of course sprawl is nothing but the pejorative term invented by environmentalists to describe the living arrangement that most of us enjoy — low density housing, with a yard for our kids to play in away from the busy hustle and bustle of urban congestion. Gee, wouldn’t it be horrible if this were what the new road brought, along with jobs and economic expansion to the 10.9 percent of the county’s workforce that is unemployed. It should also be noted that Gaston County has no ozone monitors. The closest monitors are in Charlotte, but given the very local nature of ozone it would not be legitimate to extrapolate from the readings on Charlotte monitors to come to conclusions about air quality in Gaston County.

All this brings to mind the comment made by Virginia’s Governor McDonald during his speech on Tuesday night of the GOP convention. He referred to the EPA, which is the government agency that is essentially a wholly owned subsidiary of these and other environmental groups, as "The Employment Prevention Agency."

2. Ozone Report

The 2012 ozone season began on April 1, and each week during the ozone season this newsletter reports how many, if any, high ozone days have been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to date. The ozone season will end on October 31. All reported data is from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

During the period, August 20 to August 26, there have been no reported high ozone readings on North Carolina’s ozone monitors. Since the beginning of the ozone season there have been 111 high ozone readings over 16 days on North Carolina monitors.

Click here for the Environmental Update archive.