Roger Watson: Epley misinformed
February 10, 2008
Steamboat Springs — In Paul Epley’s column from Jan. 27, he attempts to lay the deaths of millions of people from malaria at the feet of the environmental movement. But what he does not say is as important as what he does. He is not writing from any great concern about malaria deaths but instead from an attempt to malign what he himself calls “eco-Nazis” and “whackos.” He is just using this issue as another vehicle for that purpose.
One of the things he leaves out of his article is that DDT has never been completely banned for public health measures and is, in fact, being used in Africa and Asia. Also omitted from Mr. Epley’s writing was the fact that both the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense have supported a program of limited spraying. It seems that when widespread application was being used, hundreds of species of mosquitoes were becoming resistant to the effects of DDT.
Also, he points out that the Congress of Racial Equality held a conference on how the environmental movement was perpetuating poverty and misery through its policies. What he leaves out is that CORE is a far right-wing group whose members include Paul Driessen, who is a consultant to many anti-environmental corporate think tanks and has received funding from Exxon-Mobil to spin information on climate change, and Roy Innis, who was a vocal supporter of the Reagan administration and is a member of the board of directors of the NRA. CORE’s political leanings are such that for its 2005 Martin Luther King celebration, they honored Karl Rove and also Hugh Grant, who just happens to be CEO of Monsanto (the first producer of DDT in the U.S.).
DDT used in limited applications probably is a good tool for fighting malaria in developing nations, and it is being used for this purpose. But the fact remains that many other measures need to be used in conjunction with pesticides. Also, the fact is that much of Africa suffers from political uncertainty that undermines even basic health care – something that has to be taken into consideration. Other issues, such as AIDS, famine, over population and global warming resulting in massive drought, have caused Africa much misery despite Mr. Epley’s lack of concern for these issues and his outright denial of these problems.
The best thing a person can do when reading the opinions of a conservative pundit such as Paul Epley is to educate oneself on the issues and make up one’s own mind, whether it be climate change, health care, poverty, tax reform or any of the issues that face the world. And with conservatives like Mr. Epley, it’s important to follow the money.
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