Bush assault on EPA; one win, another headache

Monday, April 03, 2006 at 05:58 PM

Most people underestimate the degree to which the Bushster is succeeding at changing the country in the direction that he and his corporate supporters have long desired. For example, on March 17, a federal District Court ruled against the Bush administration's claim--via its appointees at EPA--that the EPA could water down the Clean Air Act's requirements that older power plants must meet the Act's emission standards if they upgraded their plants rather than retiring them from service as they wore out.

But in 21st century "Bush's America" good news is never more than a prelude to more bad news, and the Bush admin certainly didn't disappoint, according to a news release today from the National Resources Defense Council:

A secret proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency, so controversial that it has provoked strong internal dissent, would weaken nearly 100 toxic air pollution standards and allow industrial plants across the country to emit significantly greater amount of toxins, according to a draft rule obtained by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The draft rule would seriously erode existing standards under the Clean Air Act by permitting thousands of oil refineries, hazardous waste incinerators, chemical plants and steel mills to increase their emissions by as much as 50,000 pounds a year.

The funniest/sickest part of the story is the reason offered up by the Bushites as to why this will not really harm the country: polluters won't increase their emissions to the full limit allowed by the new reg out of fear of the negative publicity that would entail.  Oh yeah, folks, they no longer give a rat's ass whether their claims make sense or appear to the frothing ramblings of the obsessed zealot or the pathetic rationalizations of a ten year old.  Just let them have their way!

The rule has been protested by 9 of the 10 EPA regional offices, which submitted a nine-page memo which calls the proposal "detrimental to the environment" and undermining of the intent" of the Clean Air Act.  The memo also concludes that the rule would eliminate the ability of EPA and the public to effectively monitor and take action against toxic polluters, and objects to the development of the proposal without regional office input, which the protesting offices view as part of a disturbing trend.