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LA-supported political correctness causing suffering

While the concept of political correctness contributes far more snickers about than brings any serious debate to public policy, sometimes we get another reminder about how the trendy liberalism it represents has real-world consequences that brings misery to people’s lives.

Just such a Louisiana example is afforded by the almost-unheard of decision by the world’s largest retailer, WalMart, to close a store, in Homer. The town, and all of Claiborne Parish, is suffering through economic decline.

But it didn’t have to be this way. Over a decade ago, a consortium offered to build a uranium enrichment plan near Homer. Many jobs and a tremendous economic boost would have developed by its citing in the area.

Instead, a few activists decided to stoke the fears of area residents in service of their political agenda. They declared that to locate the plant there (which, by its nature would involve hazardous, radioactive material) would cause “environmental racism,” the silly notion that firms which could engage in environmental despoliation of one kind or the other intentionally would locate their firms in areas with higher proportions of racial minorities.

Studies have consistently affirmed that there is no evidence of this. Companies locate for a number of reasons, but not because they disregard the lives of non-whites. But, unfortunately, with the political administration of Pres. Bill Clinton, a then-Democratic Congress, and a compliant, activist judiciary, facts and logic were cast aside in the pursuit of a political agenda and federal laws and judicial actions were used by these activists and needlessly-scared residents to force away eventually the plant.

And now who suffers? Just as in another Louisiana case involving claims of “environmental racism,” it’s the residents themselves who have suffered. Claiborne Parish may well be much better off economically had the plant been built.

Almost a decade had passed, but the nonsense continues. Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality may have changed the name from the “Office of Environmental Justice” to its Community/Industrial Relations Group within its Division of Environmental Assistance, but one of its jobs remains the pursuit of the invalid “environmental justice” notion. It’s under the umbrella of the department’s Environmental Services Program whose activities as a whole are being funded to the tune of over $15 million in 2006-07.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco isn’t in the position to stop the waste of taxpayers’ money squandered by this politically-correct mission in this budget because its activities are not put in a separate line, but she and the Legislature have the elimination of this stupidity to work on in 2007.

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