Friday, April 01, 2016

April Fool's Day came early in Colorado -- and the state's governor is one of the fools

Could Denver Become the New Smog Capital of America? 

April Fool’s Day came a day early in Colorado, where the state government is locked in a bitter and apparently partisan battle over the so-called Clean Power Plan designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.  As you know, the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on these landmark standards, but many state governments are still moving ahead with planning.

One place where all hell is breaking loose is Colorado, where Republicans are hell-bent on defunding state planning efforts.  As has been reported, these miscreants would strip money away from the state’s air quality planning agency.

Enter Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who has defended the Clean Power Plan and — of course — wants to keep that money.  Well and good.  But is Hickenlooper making a deal with the devil to achieve that?

Yesterday, he appeared at an oil industry meeting and appeared to side with the industry on two of its big priorities: blocking tougher new national air quality standards for ozone and putting new limits on fracking.

He even said the outrageously foolish thing that he would support suspending EPA’s new ozone standards!  He has been told by his oil industry friends that Colorado would some day face penalties for failure to achieve those only marginally tougher new standards.

Earth to 2@Hickforco: your oil industry friends have lied to you. States have not been penalized for failing to meet clean-air standards (uh, gov, ever heard of California?) — only for failure to try.

Under Hickenlooper’s plan, Denver could become the new Smog Capital of America.

And its government would also be lying to the breathing public about when outdoor air pollution is dangerous.

So let’s ask the governor: do you really want to lie to the public about something so important? You claim to care about “clean air.”  What about Colorado children with asthma and so many others hurt by smog?

This pre-April folly comes amid not only the backdrop of the state funding battle, but in D.C., where oil industry-inspired legislation in Congress would kneecap the new national smog standards as well as the process for setting future air quality standards.

This bill would institutionalize dirty air and lying to the public.

And here’s a little DC secret: The industry lobbyists are always looking for a few token Democratic stooges to join ranks with their Republican friends on such matters.

For the sake of the breathing public, let’s hope Governor Hickenlooper reconsiders joining the ranks of the stooges.

Maybe his ill-considered comments were just an April Fool’s joke after all.

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