2010-07-04

Bias at Maryland LCV: scorecards seem to measure intentions instead of results

Here are LCV's grades on Air Quality for the past three administrations:

97 ]]]]]]]]]]]] A (Glendening/DEM)
01 ]]]]]]]]]]] A- (Glendening/DEM)
04 ]]]]] ......... C- (Ehrlich/GOP)
06 ]]]]]]......... C (Ehrlich/GOP)
08 ]]]]]]]]]]]] A (O'Malley/DEM)

An O'Malley administration report (Improving Maryland'sAir Quality 1990-2008) describes air quality progress under Ehrlich and O'Malley as follows:
For the past 6 years [4 under Ehrlich and 2 under O'Malley] this improvement has been nothing short of dramatic. Ozone and fine particle levels have never been lower. Carbon monoxide and lead levels in the air have pretty much been eliminated. Toxic air pollutants like benzene and acetaldehyde have been cut by over half.
In contrast, LCV's report card tarred Ehrlich with these words:
[Ehrlich's] record on allowing poor air quality to continue and worsen is serious problem that directly affects public health and the environment.
LCV did not back up this statement with any numbers or specifics that I could find.

Their contention of worsening air quality under Ehrlich is dubious because air quality has steadily improved across the US for almost every pollutant in almost every state under almost every governor since the the original Clean Air Act passed 40-odd years ago during Richard Nixon's first term.

The O'Malley report gives numbers only for ozone and particulates. Both improved under Ehrlich between 2002 and 2006.

So if Glendening and O'Malley didn't do any better than Ehrlich in improving the measurable quality of Maryland's air, what exactly did they do to get marks two full letter grades higher than Ehrlich's?

They "supported" certain programs. They "testified" and "pushed" for certain legislation. They provided "outreach and education". They also "promoted" certain technologies--something that governments should stay away from because the results have been so poor.

And what did LVC overlook in granting an A- on Air Quality to Glendening? In the LCV's own words, the Glendening administration
had "cooked the books" on the data in the Baltimore region in order to show compliance with the Clean Air Act.
I don't know what LCV is referring to here--they don't give any details. But what sin in environmental protection is worse than faking the data? How could LCV give an A- to an administration that faked data? LCV gave failing marks to Ehrlich in Baltimore City for shutting down a few ozone monitoring stations. But for faking data, Glendening got a free pass and an A-.

But wait, there's more.

LCV trashed Ehrlich on asthma:
Maryland's Department of Health issued a report in 2003 that concluded air pollution has created a growing epidemic of asthma in the state. In that year alone, there were 32,000 emergency room visits, 8,000 hospitalizations, and 88 deaths reported due to asthma--nearly double the amounts reported in 1980. As a result of the Ehrlich administration's failure to aggressively address these air pollution problems, more than 80 percent of Marylanders are forced to contend with ozone and smog levels higher than the federal air standards deemed to be healthy.
To recap, Governor Ehrlich published a report during his second year in office that identified a serious problem. After only two years in office, LCV gave him a low grade for not fixing this problem which had been growing under Democratic administrations for 20+ years. One of two pollutants linked to asthma by LCV (ozone) actually improved during Ehrlich's term of office: 10% better for the 1-hour standard and 11% better for the 8-hour standards*.

And what did LCV say about asthma in report cards for Glendening and O'Malley?

Nothing in 1997 for Glendening. Nothing in 2001 for Glendening. This is somewhat understandable because it seems to have been Ehrlich who did the heavy lifting that uncovered the problem, after Glendening left office. But what did LCV say about O'Malley's record on asthma--the asthma "epidemic" that was such a serious problem under Ehrlich ?

Nothing.

Cindy Schwartz and Frederick Hoover are you listening?


*Numbers estimated from graphs in O'Malley administration report.

No comments:

Post a Comment