Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What the heck is happening at the White House on climate?

It was bad enough when it appeared that the White House had pushed the EPA to consider a weaker and industry-friendly plan to deal with toxic coal ash.

And, as you know, there’s been much criticism about perceptions of the White House’s lack of commitment when it came to pushing Congress to deal with the climate issue.

But now this?

The White House has taken the extraordinary step of siding with the biggest and most vile polluters – against progressive states -- in a federal court case. The White House is urging the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that would have permitted “nuisance” suits against big sources of greenhouse gas emissions. http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/08/25/25greenwire-obama-admin-urges-supreme-court-to-vacate-gree-42072.html

What the heck is happening?

Some believe the Obama White House, having failed to enact climate change legislation, has adopted the old maxim when it comes to polluters: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. (I do not believe this is true of EPA.)

Or is this just skittishness going into the elections? If so, what other questionable decisions lie ahead after this round of elections, as the White House gears up for the next round?

I think they owe us a better explanation than the one given so far.

Monday, August 09, 2010

EPA slashes mercury, other toxins from cement plants

The US EPA has come forward with final standards designed to slash mercury and other toxic emissions from cement plants.

Details are available on EPA’s website here http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3pfpr.html

We are still going through all the details, but generally this is an extremely positive step towards cleaner air, taken despite scare-mongering by the cement lobby.

The rule will eliminate more than 8 tons (more than 16,000 pounds) of toxic mercury as well as make steep reductions in particulate soot, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide and toxic gases from cement plants.

We encourage the cement industry to spend more money on cleanup – and less on lobbying.

Friday, August 06, 2010

For those of you with a sense of irony and justice: EPA sues power plant that President Bush once touted

Yes, it seems like only yesterday that President Bush toured the coal-burning power plant in Monroe, Michigan, to make fun of the US EPA and to tout his polluter-friendly changes to new source review – loopholes that were later found illegal by a federal court. His 2003 visit (and rhetoric) remains memorialized here:

http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030915-6.html

Turn the clock ahead to yesterday, when the new EPA sued the plant’s owner, DTE Energy, for violating the Clean Air Act by increasing pollution at the very same power plant without installing modern pollution controls: http://www.freep.com/article/20100806/BUSINESS06/8060312/EPA-sues-DTE-to-stop-a-generator

Needless to say, the EPA under President Bush did not press charges.

I offer this up for those of you who look for examples of how things are different under the current administration. In this case, it rightly decided to enforce the law.