- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Emissions controls for wetlands? Pollution-control requirements for topsoil? Ridiculous, you say? Well, according to data released by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., and just published in the academic journal Science, marshes, wetlands and even topsoil produce large quantities of the emissions that purportedly damage the Earth's protective ozone layer.
"Such ecosystems, even though they constitute less than 0.1 percent of the global surface area, may produce roughly 10 percent of the total" of such pollutants as methyl chloride and methyl bromide, the study's authors write. These two naturally occurring compounds account for as much as one-fourth of the ozone layer's depletion, the article relates. Yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not called any press conferences to urge steps be taken to curb emissions from these "dirty" spewers of toxic effluvia. To the contrary, the agency keeps busy in part by looking over the shoulders of property owners to make sure they don't somehow harm these natural polluters.
This is not the first instance of inaction by the EPA when presented with clear-cut evidence of environmental harm being committed by Mother Nature. When Mount Pinatubo, a volcano in the Philippines, erupted a few years back releasing more ozone layer-destroying chlorine compounds than all the man-made automobile air conditioners ever built, not a word of criticism was heard from EPA Administrator Carol Browner. Similarly, the evaporative emissions of the world's oceans precipitate most of the chlorine that supposedly threatens the ozone layer, yet the oceans continue to evaporate with impunity.
Given that so much pollution is coming from sources other than the man-made variety indeed, the majority of chlorine compounds released into the environment come from natural sources it's odd that so little in the way of apocalyptic hysterics surrounds announcements such as the one just made by the Scripps researchers. For surely if mankind's contribution of chlorine emissions is so potentially dangerous, the natural action of the Earth and its ecosystems must be viewed as positively catastrophic.
And yet, these processes have likely been occurring for thousands of years, if not since the dawn of time and the Earth is by some miracle still here life forms and all quite intact and happy, thank you very much. Which rather suggests there's more politics and posturing than real science or threat of global environmental catastrophe behind EPA's increasingly perfervid agenda.



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