Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bush must have thought they meant the 'First Amendment Ozone'

EPA tightens air quality standards

What? Really?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US is tightening air quality standards in an effort to help improve public health.

It is lowering the amount of smog-forming ground-level ozone permitted in the atmosphere for the first time in more than 10 years.

The EPA says the change could save 4,000 lives each year.

Come on, come on, give me a catch...

The new permitted ozone level has been reduced from 80 parts per billion to 75 parts per billion.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said that by signing "the most stringent" ozone standard ever, the agency was meeting requirements of the Clean Air Act to periodically review limits.

Wow, no catch? The most stringent ozone standard ever? Does this finally reflect a change of heart in Washington? I would hope so! After all, we all breathe the same air, and none of us want to see it evaporate in a sea of atmospheric pollutants, and --

However, the EPA's own clean air scientific advisory committee had unanimously recommended setting a standard no higher than 70 parts per billion.

US-based campaigners Clean Air Watch say the reduction did not go far enough.

"Unfortunately, real science appears to have been tainted by political science," said Clean Air Watch president Frank O'Donnell. "The Bush Administration is compromising public health to save industry money."

Industry representatives, who had lobbied against the change, disputed the environmental need for the change and said there were concerns that the cost of reducing emissions could hurt the economy.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said in a statement that there was "no clear and substantial basis" for tightening the standards, which would impose significant burdens on states.

Dan Ridinger, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute which represents 70% of the US electric power sector, said the new regulations were pointless.

"It looks to us like the rationale behind tightening the standard significantly skews and misrepresents the scientific record of ozone's health effects," he told the BBC.

Oh, OK. Thought I was living in Non-Bizarro World for a second there. So let me get this straight: this new regulation irritates environmentalists because it's supposedly inadequate, yet industries hate it because it would represent some kind of massive change? Well, I guess it isn't a true half-assed Bush-era measure if it doesn't piss off everyone, and at least attempts to make us feel sorry for the unfair "burden" that corporations will have to assume. Never mind the burden the rest of us bear.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out this change also allows for a reduction of ozone in the layer. You know, because it pollutes!


Nick said...

So are you happy with the change or not?

Ian McGibboney said...

As with most things, I think it could be better. And it probably has underlying subtext of which I wouldn't approve. But I'll take it for now.

Nick said...


That's usually how things go in politics. Like you told me last year in regards to the presidential primary, the price people like me and you pay for having stronger than normal political convictions is that we are rarely happy.

This was obviously a compromise situation, as most things have to be in the real world. Back in '06, I was furious that Louisiana had to settle for the Senate Offshore Royalty bill rather than being able to get the House version passed through the Senate with Bush's approval.

But, the good side is at least our state will start getting some of our rightful share back, much like with this compromise, at least you get to see a "greener" evironmental policy. We do need to at least try to cut back on polution, not for "global warming" reasons, but at least to help preserve our soil, water, and wildlife & fishery estuaries.

GumboFilé said...

The EPA hasn't shown that ozone is harmful at current levels, so there may be no benefit to lower levels, but there will be a cost, and you and I will pay it.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick: Good points, but I'd disagree with you on global warming. You can't dismiss it strictly for political reasons, which is mainly what I hear from naysayers.

Gumbofile, ozone is not exactly good for you. And it could reach worse levels if we don't act, so this is at least a step in the right direction. And, yes, I'm willing to pay for it, especially since we'll otherwise pay for it in hospital bills and health. Compared to most of the horrid things our tax money pays for, this doesn't seem so bad.