Friday, February 17, 2006

Blistering comments by Ontario, state attorneys general, on EPA giveaway

I am not sure why these things tend to happen on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, but…

In case you haven’t seen them, there are blistering comments today from the Province of Ontario and the 11 state attorneys general on the most recent effort by the Bush administration to gut the Clean Air Act’s new source review enforcement program.

You will note that Ontario charges that the proposed rule would allow power companies to polluter more and longer – and that it could increase pollution on both sides of the border. (In case you thought global warming was the only area where the US and Canada have followed separate paths.)

In their denunciation of this giveaway to the coal-burning power industry, the state attorneys general make reference to a memo by the director of EPA’s air enforcement division, who charges the rule change would “adversely affect” pending court cases and “is largely unenforceable as written.” (This memo was prophetic: as you may recall, at least one big violator – American Electric Power – has already tried to get the pollution case against it dismissed because of the proposed EPA rule change.)

As a graphic reminder of the real-world pollution problem: it doesn’t happen all that often in the winter, but there was a dirty-air inversion just yesterday in much of the Northeast. New York City, Bridgeport, CT, Boston, Springfield, Providence and Portland, ME, were among the areas with high levels of particle pollution, created mainly by coal burning and motor vehicles.

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