Wednesday, November 16, 2011

AARP, take note: House Republicans revive "senior death discount" in effort to sidetrack EPA coal power plant cleanup

Well, we are coming down to the wire as coal power lobbyists and their congressional proxies are throwing virtually everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to delay EPA’s upcoming mercury and toxic pollution standards for electric power plants. The standards are due in mid-December and are currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The latest salvo came in a letter yesterday from Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD and a favorite of the coal mining lobby) and Paul Broun (R-GA – or in this case should that be R-Ga Power, a generous campaign contributor?). The letter echoes some of the talking points spread around town by very clever coal power lobbyists, including those representing Georgia Power and its parent Southern Company (for instance, that EPA has inflated the health benefits of power plant cleanup and is “double counting” them). But the most bizarre portion of this letter revives the so-called “senior death discount” – a practice that would assign a lower value to the life of a senior citizen than someone younger. The prior Bush administration considered such an idea but then abandoned it after a public outcry and advertisements such as the one above. Harris and Broun revive this discredited idea. Perhaps this is an attempt to pander to OMB regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein, who has spoken favorably of the concept. Is AARP taking note? Beneath its highly legalistic veneer, this letter embodies a callous immorality by condemning EPA for trying to prevent the death and disease caused by coal power plant emissions. It is a pretty obvious effort to throw sand into the regulatory gears.

1 comment:

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