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Needless cancer scaring reprehensible politics

Take bad science, charge it with loopy ideology, and you have off-the-wall remonstrations made by a Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council member, backed by her interest group allies.

Democrat Chauna Banks has continued a running campaign to close a landfill with allegations that it causes cancer. An environmental alarmism groups, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, has joined her cause.

Banks claims that everybody in a neighborhood near Ronaldson Field, St. Irma Lee, in “recent” years who has died has done so from cancer. She also asserts that landfills like that pose unusual cancer risks to nearby residents. She opposes renewal of the landfill’s permit, due next year.

For its part, LEAN notes a higher incidence of cancer in the area relative to other averages, and states that “we do not have enough information to say there is no problem, and the data we do have suggests there is a problem.” Naturally, neither statement is true.

Cancer rates, according to the Louisiana Tumor Registry, are 13 percent higher in that area’s census block from 2006-14. But the mean incidence isn’t statistically different from the state’s average. Regardless, nobody can gauge the impact of this landfill relative to all other presumed causes of cancer, but logically it would be close to zero – if properly regulated landfills cause cancer at all, which the latest research puts in doubt.

If you want to look for far more likely sources of cancer around the landfill, consider that its population is almost entirely racially black. Dispensing with the fake data peddled by Banks and dubious assertions promulgated by LEAN, real science notes cancer incidence, particularly among males, higher among blacks generally. Further, largely lifestyle factors – even as basic as dietary choices – appear to explain much of these differences.

Banks, of course, is no stranger to making headlines for stupid behavior and remarks. She has drawn attention for questionable, if not illegal campaign expenses; insensitive remarks made to other Council members; flogging the myth that police unjustifiably killed petty criminal Alton Sterling; and taking part in a movement trying to take advantage of former Councilman Buddy Amoroso’s death to stack the Council in liberal Democrats’ favor. This incident just adds to the list.

It all serves the left’s goal of using a green agenda to justify government greater control over the economy, as a means to increased wealth redistribution that translates into greater political power – even at the cost of needlessly scaring some people and damaging opportunity for others.

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