Environment Betrayed: The Abuse of a Just Cause

Environment Betrayed: The Abuse of a Just Cause

by Edward C. Krug


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475911268
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/07/2012
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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Environment Betrayed

The Abuse of a Just Cause
By Edward C. Krug

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Edward C. Krug
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-1126-8

Chapter One


Reprinted from Environment Betrayed 1(1):7 (Dec. 1993).

The answer lies in who I am. Having grown up in New Jersey, I saw that man can damage nature—parts of New Jersey resemble the surreal industrial moonscape of smoke and fires pictured at the beginning of the movie The Blues Brothers. While I now oppose environmentalism, originally I didn't perceive anything wrong with it. Being technically oriented, I didn't read the popular literature back then. Whether working for the New Jersey Bureau of Water Policy and Supply or reviewing permits for Ralph Nader's Public Interest Research Group, my involvement was straightforward: meeting surface water quality and wastewater discharge standards.

However, things changed after I earned a PhD and became the state of Connecticut's scientific acid rain expert in 1981. I saw that "environmental" objectives for acid rain were being promoted by doomsday data fabricated out of thin air. For example, in 1980, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asserted that the average Northeastern lake had been acidified a hundredfold over the last forty years as the result of acid rain. Not to be outdone, in 1981, the National Academy of Sciences asserted that the last forty years of acidification would be repeated again—but in only nine years, by 1990 (National Research Council, 1981). Both of these claims were false, as were similar claims being made for acid rain damage to forests. In short, the public was being misled into believing that acid rain was an enormous environmental crisis that merited controls proportionate to the "crisis."

Quite worried, I went to others in the environmental movement with the concern that we were misplacing precious resources, and doing so at the expense of credibility for environmental concerns. To my shock, environmental leaders attacked me (Anderson, 1992) in a manner that onlookers likened to the inquisition of Galileo (Eyde, 1992). However, the Ed Krug story is but part of a greater Green jihad against scientific truth (e.g., Krug, 1992, 1993).

A 1989 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presentation on global warming made me realize that what was happening in acid rain was not unique. The IPCC scientists assumed that the global warming models actually worked and, using first principles, determined that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would increase agricultural productivity by 15 to 40 percent, depending upon the region of the world. Similarly, global warming should increase average forest productivity (IPCC, 1989).

I nearly fell out of my chair before remembering that historians and paleoecologists call the warmer periods of the recent past "Climatic Optima," that is, global warming is "good" and global cooling is "bad." However, as with acid rain, the good news about global warming was censored out, along with the information that shows that the global warming models, like the acid rain models, don't work in the first place. And so 1989 was when I came to know that environmentalism is fundamentally flawed.

As the late great Oxford University Don C. S. Lewis observed, the greatest evils are committed by perverting virtue, be it peace (the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire), equality (the human face of Communism of the Soviet Empire), or nature (the perfect natural state of the rising new Green world order). Purity of goals blinds well-meaning adherents, be it the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics murdering 66 million of its citizens to end the exploitation of man by fellow man (Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, Vol. II, 1975) or environmentalists trying to do the absurd: implement conservation and pollution control using a philosophy incapable of generating these concepts in the first place (Krug, 1993). If you believe that nature is a Garden of Eden (Gore, Earth in the Balance, 1992, p. 144), then you will always find something wrong with whatever we do because all activities—even conservation—have some sort of impact. Take energy as an example.

Coal is now considered a "dirty fuel" because of acid rain. But we really can't replace it with another fossil fuel due to global warming. Nuclear power? No, they say. It is unsafe, and don't try making it safe either—they want us to use renewable sources of energy.

Okay, but when we put in a dam, the Greens complain that we are changing a river into a lake. Geothermal energy is opposed based on aesthetics. Charles Kuralt did a Christmas special a few years ago entitled "Gifts We Give Ourselves." One of these "gifts" was stopping geothermal power production in Oregon. How "nice" (also see the televised May 12, 1992, hearing of the Senate Energy Committee). Windmills? Again, aesthetics—and in California, Greens complain it kills birds.

It was the reaction to the announced possibility of cold fusion—a glimpse at year 3000 technology (even Star Trek: The Next Generation uses force fields)—that revealed the horrible bottom line of environmentalism. Even though cold fusion, if possible, would be a totally nonpolluting source of energy, environmentalists were appalled by it! Paul Ehrlich stated, "[T] he prospect of cheap inexhaustible power from fusion is 'like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.'" Jeremy Rifkin stated, "It's the worst thing that could happen to the planet." Ralph Nader and Barry Commoner also heaped abuse upon it.

Their objection? Not pollution. If it were possible, it would be able to effectively and cheaply generate power. They were against power generation itself; you can read all about it in the Los Angeles Times (April 19, 1989, Part V, pp. 1-2).

I decided to publish Environment Betrayed because defenders of modern Western civilization don't recognize the nature of the war, let alone many of its details. By raising issues, environmentalists also get to define the battlefield, that is, the context of thought. If we are to win, this must change. So, with your help, plus some divine intervention, maybe we can change all that.


"How Well Does Environmental Policy Track Science" Symposium of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chicago, February 6-11, 1992.


Acid rain first came to public attention with claims that it was rapidly killing forests and lakes on a broad basis. To assess the accuracy of these claims, Congress initiated the largest study to date of an environmental problem: the ten-year, $500+-million National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), which involved over three thousand scientists. NAPAP determined that acid rain may present a threat to one species of tree in 0.1 percent of eastern forests. The percentage of acidic lakes was also found to be much smaller than previously believed and not measurably increasing. Nevertheless, these scientific findings had little apparent impact on legislation passed in 1990, having been judged by some to be "not policy relevant."


George Will's column of January 8, 1992, indicates that mainstream journalists are beginning to get the idea that in the hands of environmental advocates, estimates of environmental damage take on lives of their own, with few ties to reality. In the column, Mr. Will mused, "Whose interests are served by a numerical exaggeration? The answer often is: the people whose funding or political importance varies directly with the perceived severity of a particular problem" (Will, 1992).

Just about everyone of public importance had some sort of stake in acid rain being an environmental Armageddon. The scientific reality of the effects of acid rain differ enormously from public perception. And this is important for the setting of environmental policy because, unlike scientific fact, political reality in a democracy is established by vote.

The enormous gulf between fact and perception was brought out in the 60 Minutes story on acid rain (December 30, 1990). Correspondent Steve Kroft asked Dr. James Mahoney (then director of NAPAP) about the media representing acid rain as making a "silent spring" in the forests and lakes of the Northeastern United States. Director Mahoney commented that the media accounts of damage were overblown by quite a bit. When pressed why such fiction, rather than science, is being reported, Dr. Mahoney refused to address this issue and answered that his job is to do the science, not the reporting.

Yet the EPA had no such reservations about commenting, and commenting strongly, on media reporting. The EPA blasted the 60 Minutes acid rain story in a lengthy and detailed response claiming that outrageous statements were made (EPA, 1991). Let us examine the peculiar responses of the EPA, our public servant of environmental policy.

As a scientist, I can see how the EPA would have been upset by some of the comments made on 60 Minutes. The EPA is the lead federal agency of NAPAP. EPA Administrator Reilly is chairman of the President's Joint Chairs Council, which oversees NAPAP. So I would have thought that the EPA would have been upset by the remark of David Hawkins (an activist for the Natural Resources Defense Council) who in effect told 60 Minutes that NAPAP has been a waste of time and money. And further, he said that in its ten years of existence, NAPAP has only confirmed what was known ten years ago!

Peculiarly, the EPA did not indicate any offense at all with this statement. But as a NAPAP scientist, I certainly was offended. We must remember that the United States almost did not have a NAPAP. In 1980, public opinion was very strong against waiting ten years for NAPAP to complete its study. Environmental activists established the conventional wisdom that by 1990 it would be too late: Rachael Carson's prophesy of a "silent spring" would come to pass, with acid rain forever killing forests and lakes, by 1990.

Only a recalcitrant President Reagan, allied with Midwest rust-belt legislators, stood in the way of environmentalists' demands. But the pressure became even too much for President Reagan who, by the end of 1983, was ready to capitulate. In late January/early February 1984, I was one of a committee of scientists who were asked to advise EPA Administrator Ruckelshaus on the choice of continuing research on acid rain or passing a new Clean Air Act. What the government would do hinged on how we answered the following question: will eastern North America survive five more years (will it survive until 1989) under the fierce onslaught of acid rain? The question seems ludicrous now, but back in 1984, it was considered foolish and immoral for anyone to even ask this question. President Reagan stayed with NAPAP.

Now we know that NAPAP's findings did not confirm what was known ten years ago in 1980, as Mr. Hawkins claimed. And Mr. Hawkins of the Natural Resources Defense Council is in the position to know this firsthand because this is the same Mr. Hawkins who was appointed by President Carter as the EPA assistant administrator responsible for acid rain. President Carter, then Mr. Hawkins's boss, told the American public in 1980 that acid rain was one of the two most severe atmospheric environmental problems of the century. And Mr. Hawkins's EPA lent the appearance of scientific credibility to President Carter's assertion by publishing that the average Northeast lake had been acidified a hundredfold over just the last forty years as the result of acid rain (EPA, 1980)—a statement that has no basis in fact. Yet, by 1990 the EPA's own research, as part of NAPAP, showed that, even in the Adirondacks, the area whose lakes are supposed to suffer the greatest acidification by acid rain, EPA data show that the average lake is no more acidic now than it was before the industrial era (Krug and Warnick, 1991).

The EPA produced a six-page, single-spaced rebuttal to what it considered outrageous statements made on 60 Minutes (EPA, 1991). Was the EPA response to 60 Minutes concerned about Hawkins's assertion about wasted research dollars? No. Or about research results substantiating the public perception of 1980? No.

Yet EPA Administrator Reilly wrote in a letter to Science: "In the Senate hearings on my confirmation as EPA Administrator, the first criterion that I mentioned for an effective environmental policy was 'respect for science'" (Reilly, 1990).

I could understand if Mr. Reilly were concerned about Mr. Hawkins having a less-than-respectful attitude for science on 60 Minutes when he said that NAPAP scientists were unable to see damage because we have very crude scientific tools but that the American public can look out their windows and see the damage being done. Mr. Hawkins then went on to characterize us as backpacking around in the woods.

Yet again, the EPA, which considers itself to be a scientific agency and is the lead agency of NAPAP, an agency whose administrator publically claims to have "respect for science," did not indicate any offense at all with this statement.

What really offended the EPA? I was asked to comment on Mr. Hawkins's characterization of us NAPAP scientists as not being able to see anything because we were larking around in the woods with crude scientific tools. I responded, "Actually we do know a lot. We know that the acid rain problem is so small that it's hard to see."

The EPA took great offense to that statement.

The EPA promptly carried out an ad hominem attack on me! This was done even though I have letters from the EPA itself calling me a recognized leader in acid rain—even though I have been used by the EPA itself to review its acid rain programs, and I have even been used to advise Administrators Ruckelshaus and Thomas of the EPA about acid rain.

The EPA also released comments from an alleged peer review of a project report I published for NAPAP two years earlier. I call it an alleged peer review because:

1. The first time I had heard of it was when a Washington Post reporter called me up on January 11, 1991—twenty-one months after the report was published.

2. The report was peer-reviewed by NAPAP prior to publication. The EPA's comments did not come from the NAPAP review of the report.

3. I have yet to see a copy of this alleged peer review even after making a freedom of information request on January 14, 1991, to EPA Administrator Reilly to see it.

We can now begin to understand why the scientists who conducted the Adirondack lakes study for the EPA—the study that showed no net acidification—refused to publish this result. Similarly, the results of the EPA's largest acidification research project—where no correlation could be found between acid rain and surface water acidity, and soil chemistry is the principal factor controlling the acidity of surface waters (EPA, 1989)—was not published by EPA scientists in the scientific literature. So, after waiting for up to two years for these data to be published, I finally published them in a letter to Science last fall (Krug and Warnick, 1991).

We see that, as public servants and as holders of the public trust, the EPA is unconcerned about public misinformation that exaggerates acid rain as an environmental problem. The EPA is unconcerned about science bashing in the media. Indeed, the EPA even partakes in it.

Inconclusion, George Will's column of January 8 hit the nail on the head: in the hands of environmental advocates, estimates of environmental damage take on lives of their own, with few ties to reality. As Mr. Will concludes, those who exaggerate are those whose funding or political importance varies directly with the perceived severity of a particular problem.

The reason why the public is so well misinformed on acid rain is that the environmental advocates are not just Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. Just about everybody gains from the acid rain myth—everybody, that is, except you and me. The EPA likes it because, in terms of regulation, the 1990 Clean Air Act is ten times bigger than any previous environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act of 1970. The government likes it because it gains more popularity, power, and control as government is seen doing something good for little cost; most environmental costs are off budget, being paid directly by the consumer. The media likes it because environmentalism is a just cause depicted in terms of good-versus-evil, David-versus-Goliath battles. Environmentalists hand the media popular and spectacular disaster stories pitting the blue-jeaned defenders of Mother Earth from the three-piece-suit Darth Vaders of big business, in this case, utilities spewing forth acid rain. The utilities like it because they get to pass on higher utility rates, along with increased profits, from the Public Utility Commissions onto you and me because we, the well-misinformed public, are demanding to be protected from the scourge of acid rain.


Excerpted from Environment Betrayed by Edward C. Krug Copyright © 2012 by Edward C. Krug. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


Why Am I Doing This?....................1
Acid Rain: Forests and Fish....................5
Assessment of the Theory and Hypotheses of the Acidification of Watersheds....................20
Where's the Ozone Problem?....................26
The Great Lakes are Dying ....................38
Climate History Invalidates Global Warming Models....................42
Pinatubo and the 1992 Ozone Scare....................59
Hey-Hey, Ho-Ho, West-Ern-Civ-Has-Got-To-Go....................64
Mercury Madness....................90
Don't Believe any of it....................99
More on Populution....................110
More on Ozone....................133
The Perfect Natural State: Surface Waters....................147
Postindustrial Green World Order....................161
Meanwhile Back in the Ussra....................178
Industry's Clean Air Act Blues....................181
Opportunity to Win Back the West....................183
"Volcanoes" of the Atmosphere....................211
Ota Updates....................231
The True State of the Planet....................238
Building the Environmental Republic....................257
Farewell Reflections....................294

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