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Ideas work where air laws can’t reach

By John Bartlit

We are a nation of laws. By nature most of us resent laws that restrict what we do. At the same time, I hear no one singing the praises of lawlessness.
The burning interest in laws misses a third option that is freer of pitfalls than either rules or lawlessness. The creative path has gained some notable ground on pollution problems.  
The approach can be described as “voluntary,” “pursuing ideas” or “jawboning,” if you would call it that. They all mean achieving better pollution control than the law demands.
More people of opposing views would find things they like if it were explored more. The topic is especially timely when tax money is tight, which is now.  
Voluntary improvements result from people passing around information and ideas aimed at getting cleaner air and water sooner and easier. Ideas come from poking into things.
A good start is to review the national structure of air pollution laws. How does it work?
A few pollutants are very widespread, because people use a lot of certain things, such as heat, power, vehicles, fuels and metals. The resulting common air pollutants total six – fine particles, ozone, CO, NOx, SOx and lead.


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