Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Florida Department of Health in early March touted Florida for having the “cleanest air on record.” For the first time and on Governor Ron DeSantis’ watch, Florida has met all ambient air quality standards.
President Trump’s EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler called this accomplishment a “milestone” and praised Florida for “years of hard work and dedication” by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection as well as “local businesses committed to improving the health and prosperity of Florida residents.”
It’s the kind of thing environmental groups would normally rejoice over, or at least claim some credit for making such a dramatic impact on the environment.
Instead, while the data shows Florida has set a new standard for excellence in air quality and Floridians are breathing the cleanest air on record, activist groups have been hard at work using COVID-19 and misrepresentations about air quality to attack businesses and industry groups – the very institutions keeping people employed while the state waits for this virus to pass. A recent Harvard “study” is being used by green groups to suggest that bad air quality is making COVID-19 patients worse.
It’s simply false.
In a recent editorial analysis, the Wall Street Journal found that the white paper is “riddled with flaws.” The editorial cites problems with the entire premise – that air quality is bad, so COVID-19 cases are far worse. According to the Journal, “PM 2.5 (a measure of air particulate content) levels across the U.S. have fallen 40 percent since 2000 as power plants and cars have become more efficient, and coal has been replaced with cleaner-burning natural gas.”
The editorial cited researchers that took issue with the study’s underlying data:
“As epidemiologists who have studied air pollution for more than two decades, we found [the study’s] impacts staggering,” note Carleton University’s Paul Villeneuve and McGill University’s Mark Goldberg. “When we looked closely at the research, we saw so many shortcomings that we were not convinced of the results.” Mr. Goldberg, by the way, has supported a fracking moratorium.
Meanwhile, Florida has been inundated with Saharan Dust for the past month, increasing air particulate levels across the Sunshine State. And environmental groups have refused to acknowledge the natural phenomenon.
Miami-Dade County noted increased PM 2.5 levels during the event, pushing the county’s air quality index into the “moderate” range in late June. A Palm Beach County medical expert warned about health impacts to those with respiratory issues. And yet the increased Saharan dust was met with silence from the usual crowd of environmental activists normally sounding the alarm about air quality.
There’s also a scientific link between Sarahan dust and Florida Red Tide. Since the phenomenon occurs on its own, without the help of human activity, left-leaning environmental groups have decided it’s best to simply ignore this inconvenient truth rather than admit their incessant attacks on Florida businesses might be off target.
Why are environmental activists choked into silence about the dangers of Saharan dust? Because there’s no profit in that fight. There’s nobody to demagogue, nobody to blame and thus, no cause for which celebrity-funded greenwashing groups will donate money.