Stabbed in the back by the White House on the smog issue, the EPA has become everyone’s favorite political whipping post. (One of the most painful bits of demagoguery came from Rep. Greg Waldren, R-OR, who accused the agency of being “on a jihad against jobs.”)
We saw it again today when a House Energy and Commerce panel voted to interfere with EPA plans to clean up deadly toxic emissions from industrial boilers and cement plants.
And tomorrow morning, the panel will be at it again. The target this time: pending and proposed standards to clean up electric power plants.
Based on the background information released by the subcommittee http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/091411/MEMO.pdf , we expect the focus will be to allege that EPA is trying to promote electricity blackouts.
There has already been plenty out there to refute this bogus charge (this study, for instance, http://www.mjbradley.com/sites/default/files/MJBA%20Reliability%20Report%20Update%20June%207%202011.pdf and this one http://blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/2011/07/rick-perry-take-note-utility-analyst.html)
But we still expect most of the witnesses will attack EPA. We know, for example, that the Texas witness on the second panel will basically espouse the Rick Perry view (on EPA, presumably not about Merck or Social Security).
But we also anticipate some mud-slinging from other witnesses for the prosecution, including the public service commissioners from Georgia, Missouri and West Virginia.
We thought it might make sense to put any such charges in context by taking a snapshot of this summer’s smog in those three states. The information, which we compiled as part of our Smog Watch survey http://blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/2011/09/smog-watch-survey-finds-widespread-smog.html tracks the episodes of smog across America this year.
It turns out that Georgia has already had 39 days of “Code Orange” dirty air this year, through August. Missouri has had 27 days of “Code Orange” or “Code Red,” while West Virginia has had six days or “Code Orange” smog. (West Virginia’s air has improved significantly in the past 15 years because of limits on summer smog-forming emissions from power plants.) See below.
These statistics, of course, understate the true extent of the smog problem because they are based on the scientifically deficient Bush smog standards.
The bottom line here is that the leaders of this congressional panel are neglecting the consequences of dirty air in their quest to score political points.
2011 Ozone “Code Orange” and “Code Red” days in Missouri, West Virginia and Georgia
These are days in which at least one air pollution monitor in the state found unhealthful ozone readings based on the 2008 ozone standards set by the Bush administration of 75 parts per billion. All are “Code Orange” (ozone between 76 and 95 ppb) except where noted as “Code Red” (above 95 ppb).
Missouri – 27 days
July 25 [CodeRed]
August 18 [Code Red]
West Virginia – 6 days
Georgia –39 days