In perhaps the most troubling sign of his determination to pander to business at the expense of public health, President Obama announced this morning that he had blocked EPA’s science-based efforts to lower the levels of smog that drive children and the elderly inside on Code Red days. Automobile manufacturers, power plant operators, the oil industry, and the Chamber of Commerce are breaking out the champagne, while the public health community despairs of the President who promised so much and has delivered so little.
The hard truth is that in this case the President has decided to flout the Clean Air Act to precisely the same extent as his predecessor.
The Act established a panel of doctors and scientists, known as the Clean Air Act Science Advisory Committee (CASAC), a blue ribbon panel with impeccable credentials. The panel has pleaded with EPA to lower ozone to at least 70—and preferably 60—parts per billion in the air. President Bush shoved aside these recommendations, setting a 75 ppb standard. President Obama has just ensured that this harmful level will persist for another several years.
The White House is spinning this as an effort to ease the burden on states …
Cross-posted from Legal Planet.
I should probably start by putting my cards on the table. I’m not really an advocate of cap and trade as compared with other forms of regulation. What I care about is getting effective carbon restrictions in place, whether they take the form of cap and trade, a carbon tax, industry-wide regulations, or something else. The big advantage of cap and trade from that perspective is that some systems are already up and running, and unlike a carbon tax, it doesn’t directly violate any political taboos. Any of these systems will only be as good as its implementation anyway.
There’s been a lot of debate about environmental justice and cap-and-trade, including some interesting exchanges on this blog prompted by the California litigation on the subject. I thought it would be worth looking into this more carefully, resulting in a short …