Laws are written so that polluters avoid personal and corporate criminal and civil liability for the health problems they cause. Otherwise, green energy would be less expensive that dirty energy.
It’s estimated that in the US 160,000 people die each year as a result of pollution (see EPA video) and perhaps as many as 40% of all deaths worldwide are the result of dirty energy. Even after acknowledging those statistics, the EPA does not and in most cases cannot provide compensation to the human victims. It can only compensate the forests and the land. The lack of health compensation costs are one of the hidden sudsidies of dirty energy.
The most recent settlement against the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) that requires the company to invest approximately $300 million in pollution control technology, pay a civil penalty of $1.2 million and spend $6 million on environmental mitigation projects to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) is a typical example of the sort of slap on the wrist that companies get for causing public harm for a decade.
Although $6 million will be paid to clean up the damage caused to forests, not one dime is being shelled out for human mitigation in terms of increased rates of lung and heart disease. That is, instead of supporting the constitutional requirement to protect the public from harm, the legal system forces citizens to prove that they have been harmed after the fact which involves legal hurdles that reduce the likelihood of any compensation to effectively zero.
The agreement should reduce emissions by 15,000 tons annually which clearly indicates that since the time the investigation began in 2000, many people were injured or killed by the higher levels of pollution.
At the same time, US science is hampered from determining what environmental factors cause disease by legislation passed by social Democrats and President George H. Bush 30 years ago which requires government funded research to yield results within 5 years. An epidemiological study to determine whether things like smoking cause cancer requires 30 years to complete.
Of course, the media plays a big role in this. This year Sheryl Crow dared to suggest that her brain cancer may have been caused by her cell phone use. That speculation is well justified because the epidemiological research has yet to be completed and of course that research has be to conducted outside the U.S. Instead of the media pointing that out, the mainstream and social media spent several days insulting Sheryl Crow.
Before the WPS settlement is approved, you may make a public comment on the settlement by sending a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org Further details can be found here (see last section on public commenting).