Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bush Legacy: Dung and Dirty Air

In San Francisco, there is a new ballot initiative to name a sewage plant for him, but George W. Bush's farewell gift to the environment may be less solid--strong-arming the EPA to water down its opinion to the Supreme Court on pollutants in the air.

The original answer to a 2007 ruling requiring a report on greenhouse gases and health dangers has been in limbo for six months until the environmental agency removed sections that support regulation, including its judgment that curbing motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over three decades.

According to a senior official quoted by the New York Times, the original EPA report “showed that the Clean Air Act can work for certain sectors of the economy to reduce greenhouse gases. That’s not what the administration wants to show. They want to show that the Clean Air Act can’t work.”

This week, the EPA will tell the Supreme Court that greenhouse gases are a complicated issue involving legal and economic issues that have yet to be resolved and, when Bush departs in January, his final gift will be a reminder of the cleaner air we could have been breathing if an Al Gore presidency hadn't been smothered in infancy by the Court with its 2000 Florida recount decision.

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