Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bush Slips in an 11th-Hour Blow to the Environment

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:14 AM

click to enlarge smokies5-thumb.jpg
What is this--a mountainous L.A.? Not that Smoky. Prepare to see the Smokies through a pall of smog. Unless a petition for reconsideration goes through--leaving the final say-so to Obama--the EPA is going to make it a hell of a lot easier for coal-fired power plants, lead smelters and oil refineries near national parks to vomit pollutants with abandon, according to a report by The Washington Post. Ever since the passage of the Energy Policy Act, W. has turned the gatekeepers of our wild lands--particularly the Bureau of Land Management and the EPA--into rubber stamps. I saw it happen firsthand in Wyoming. The BLM issued permits to drill out there like candy on Halloween. The effect: Destruction of sagebrush habitats and the dependent species, and the ruination of ranch land and the ephemeral creeks the high country ranchers so depend on. This is brazen, though. Bush sneaking in an 11th hour pass on pollution. EPA regional administrators are raising a shit-fit. Now when the EPA starts bitching about energy-related policy decisions, you can rest assured it's egregious. Here's what they plan to do, or not do, rather: Spikes in pollution near national parks during peak energy demand used to be illegal. Instead, pollution levels will be averaged over an entire year. Just imagine what energy company math whizzes can do with an imaginative statistical analysis. You know The Who song, "I Can See for Miles?" It hasn't been true for a while in the Smoky Mountains, and if this goes through it probably never will be.

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