Ah, the tender extremism of the Environmental Protection Agency, as John Daniel Davidson writes on The Federalist:
… now comes the federal government to tell the inhabitants of Alaska’s interior that, really, they should not be building fires to keep themselves warm during the winter. The New York Times reports the Environmental Protection Agency could soon declare the Alaskan cities of Fairbanks and North Pole, which have a combined population of about 100,000, in “serious” noncompliance of the Clean Air Act early next year.
Read the whole thing, but in sum, according to Davidson this is a local problem isolated to an area that people can choose to leave. The writer, for one, is willing to take the health risks associated with some wood-fire-related pollution for the benefits of life in the area, but the distant federal government isn’t willing to allow him that option.
Like much progressive, big-government action, the effect of this regulation (intentional or not) will be to limit the places humanity can settle… except, naturally, those privileged few with money to burn. To be sure, it must be difficult for federal bureaucracies to tell people how to live their lives when we’re so spread out into the wilderness.
Indeed, one finds it difficult not to see a deliberate restriction of human freedom if the picture combines Davidson’s explanation of the energy challenges in the region…
Heating oil is too expensive for a lot of people, and natural gas isn’t available.
… with the EPA’s restrictions and President Barack Obama’s imperial ban on oil drilling along Alaska’s coast.
In The Titanic, one passenger laments that there aren’t enough lifeboats for half of the passengers, and the movie’s wealthy villain proclaims that it won’t be “the better half” who are stranded. Think of government as a crew both steering toward an iceberg and restricting access to escape and you’ll have something of the sense of how progressive policies function.