Dear Editor:

As I listened to Jim Renfro speak last week about air quality in the Smokies, I realized how fortunate we are to have so many dedicated, intelligent and hard-working scientists in this country, whether in government, academia, medicine or industry. In the case of EPA and other government scientists, most people have no idea how much our health, wealth and quality of life depend on their study findings.

Having worked in veterinary medical research, I understand how much hard work goes into producing a single publishable journal article, or justifying another year’s worth of funding. I could not imagine facing the disrespect and dishonest representation coming from the current administration whenever the results of my work didn’t coincide with their agenda, and I completely understand the plummeting morale that has resulted.

Most scientists do what they do not out of self-interest, but for some greater good. The results from studies such Renfro's are not meant to gather dust, but to inform decision-making. The setting of fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards is one example of scientific study that has resulted in significant reductions of carbon released into the atmosphere.

These and other regulations now are threatened of being rolled back. The administration has proposed replacing the Clean Power Plan, which would reduce carbon dioxide significantly from 2005 levels, with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which would not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and would increase emissions of conventional pollutants.

The negative impacts would be far-reaching, and anything but “affordable.” As you go into the voting booth, keep in mind that clean air, clean water and an environment that will continue to support life is not a partisan issue.

Ginny Ayers

Knight Bridge Road

Maryville

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