UPDATE: The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has released “a report detailing the frightening possible major regulatory rule changes the Bush administration could make in its final days.”
Until January 21, nobody in this country is safe from the lemming-in-chief. Unsatisfied with blocking all serious national and global action on climate change, the Bush administration is intent on leaving the next president with a variety of pollution-accelerating regulations that will be difficult to reverse quickly. As the Washington Post reports today:
The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.
The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.
Those and other regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining.
Once such rules take effect, they typically can be undone only through a laborious new regulatory proceeding, including lengthy periods of public comment, drafting and mandated reanalysis.
The Post article is titled, “A Last Push To Deregulate.” Given the financial and economic havoc wreaked upon this country by deregulation, this headline may well be the epitaph for the Bush administration.
While this blog focuses primarily on the climate impact of increased emissions, the facts are clear that allowing more pollution increases cardiovascular illness and lowers developmental scores for children (see “Study: If you want smarter kids, shut coal plants”).
So what are the Bushies actually doing in their final orgy of destruction?
One rule, being pursued over some opposition within the Environmental Protection Agency, would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases. According to the EPA’s estimate, it would allow millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, worsening global warming.
A related regulation would ease limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants near national parks.
A third rule would allow increased emissions from oil refineries, chemical factories and other industrial plants with complex manufacturing operations.
These rules “will force Americans to choke on dirtier air for years to come, unless Congress or the new administration reverses these eleventh-hour abuses,” said lawyer John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Our long national nightmare cannot end soon enough.
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