Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Seems Like Only Yesterday...But It's Been Five Years Since Bad Bush Smog Standard


Today is not just the official start of NFL free agency and the Vatican conclave, but also the fifth anniversary of the Bush administration's decision to ignore its own science advisers  -- and set a clearly deficient national air standard for ozone. 


Why is five years important?   The Clean Air Act requires the U.S. EPA to review the science behind widespread pollutants such as ozone every five years, and make a decision as to whether the standards should be changed based on the most recent science.

And the Obama administration is going to blow the deadline!  In other words, violate the Clean Air Act.  Well, you know what that means! 



The legal eagles on the side of the angels will soon be cranking up the word processors and going to court to enforce the law.   (No one believes the Obama administration, which already sabotaged an attempt by former EPA head Lisa Jackson to right the Bush wrong, will meet a deadline on this issue – unless one is ultimately the result of a lawsuit.)

A footnote, of course: as you may know, the scientific evidence for setting a stronger ozone standard has only become more robust than it was during the Bush era.  (For a marvelous summary of the Bush mistake, check out this testimony by Michael Goo, currently the associate administrator for policy at EPA and a leading candidate to replace Gina McCarthy as head of the EPA air program: http://docs.nrdc.org/globalWarming/files/glo_08052001a.pdf )

A recent science assessment by EPA concluded the evidence for action is stronger than ever http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/isa/recordisplay.cfm?deid=247492

It noted, to cite one example, that there is "likely to be a casual relationship" between short-term ozone exposure and death!   EPA’s review of the scientific evidence in the Bush era was less conclusive – it said the link was “suggestive.”

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