A Glimmer of Hope?

Just a glimmer that someone in this administration has a clue  —  but we’ll take it.

 Yes, President Obama made a decision late last week to pull back one – yes, just one – but actually pull back one of the EPA’s proposed clean air rules.  It’s not one of the ones you’re thinking of  —  like “fugitive dust” or power plant regulations that would skyrocket electric costs.  It’s a rule that would have further ratcheted down the levels of ozone permitted in most of the country’s air.

 EPA has taken a lot of flack over the rule from cities and counties that are supposed to “manage” their air quality so that there is no more than 75 ppm (yes, that’s parts per million) of ozone.  But we see this – cynics that we are – as a strategic election campaign decision.  The envirozealots can’t too credibly accuse Obama of serious neglect of our air because they are already enforcing strict limits and everyone knows the air in cities and towns is much cleaner than decades ago.  But the standards to which EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wants to hold counties to now  —  0.60 – 0.70 ppm  —  is, for multiple reasons, not in touch with reality.

 Of course, the Land of Make-Believe is where Jackson permanently presides.  But the facts are even EPA’s own rosy projections show this rule could cost $90 billion, would halt any expansion or job creation in most of the country and, according to the Heritage Foundation, require technology that doesn’t even exist.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the new standard would put 85 percent of the country’s counties out of compliance (628 of 736), which forces utilities, businesses and agricultural operations to shelve expansion plans (“Obama in the Ozone,” 09/02/11).

 In what sounds like a comedy skit by Jay Leno or Dennis Miller, the Journal article notes that the map for the 0.60 standard shows the only states in compliance would be South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Maine.  By Obama’s notorious states-in-the-union reckoning, that would put 56 states out of compliance and surely, even he can figure out that would anger more voters than he can afford to alienate.

 Color me skeptical, as Miller would say, but while important, this does look like a political bone tossed in the direction of nearly non-existent growth and an August jobs report showing zero growth last month.  After all, Obama knows this rule will come up for review again in 2013.  We’re skeptical Obama will propose whacking very many more rules.  According to former Congressman Bob Beuprez, there are only 4,199 more proposed rules and regs for Obama to deep six.  Wonder how many more he’ll propose ditching in his big speech Thursday?

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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