On Friday afternoon, as brave and committed activists continued their non-violent civil disobedience outside the White House in protest of the tar sands pipeline that would lead to a massive increase in global warming pollution, President Obama ordered the EPA to abandon its pursuit of new curbs on emissions that worsens disease-causing smog in US cities. Earlier this year, the EPA’s administrator, Lisa Jackson, wrote that the levels of pollution now permitted -- put in place by the Bush-Cheney administration-- are “not legally defensible.” Those very same rules have now been embraced by the Obama White House.President Obama's directive is apparently illegal - and Gore isn't correct - this decision by the Obama administration will result in more pollution being allowed than the policy that the Bush administration had proposed.
Instead of relying on science, President Obama appears to have bowed to pressure from polluters who did not want to bear the cost of implementing new restrictions on their harmful pollution—even though economists have shown that the US economy would benefit from the job creating investments associated with implementing the new technology. The result of the White House’s action will be increased medical bills for seniors with lung disease, more children developing asthma, and the continued degradation of our air quality.
The current 8-hour ozone standard of 84 ppb dates back to 1997. During the GW Bush Administration, EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) recommended in 2006 and 2007 the standard be reduced to 60-70 ppb based on evidence of serious health harm to children and those with respiratory disease at higher levels. But in 2008, the GW Bush Administration ignored CASAC's recommendation and proposed a 75 ppb for ozone.I find myself more and more in agreement with Chris Hedges that "We have to turn our backs for good on the Democrats, no matter what ghoulish candidate the Republicans offer up for president. "
When President Obama took office, however, this change was put on hold presumably for one more in line with the CASAC's recommendation and protective of public health. Now three years later, the 1997 standard of 84 ppb remains in place and the Obama Administration is telling us it will be several more years before a more health protective standard will be proposed. I choked when I read this in professor McGarity's piece:"Americans living in cities - where ozone pollution is at its worst - will be left in worse shape than they would have been had the inadequate Bush Administration standard gone into effect."With that legacy ahead of her, I agree with professor McGarity, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson should either defy the President's order, or resign.
My fantasy is for people who plan to vote for President Obama to instead write in "Eugene V. Debs" instead. At least then that might get the point across.