Who needs enemies. . . .

  1. . . . when our government can be just a dangerous!

    From the 11/22/2002 New York Times:

    U.S. Easing Pollution Rules to Spur Building of Power Plants
    By DAVID STOUT


    ASHINGTON, Nov. 22-The Bush administration said today that it wanted to ease cumbersome anti-pollution rules to encourage the expansion of power plants and refineries without fouling the skies.

    The long-expected change in policy will actually "encourage emissions reductions" by giving plant operators more flexibility, Christie Whitman, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said at a news conference this afternoon

    Ms. Whitman said that the old rules "have deterred companies from implementing projects that would increase energy efficiency and decrease air pollution."

    The new rules contain language more palatable to the plant operators on what constitutes "routine maintenance," a definition that can be crucial in determining how to interpret the E.P.A.'s "new source review" rules.

    The new source review concept was originally intended to shelter older plants from strict new pollution rules unless they were modernized and increased their capacity, in which case they would have had to enhance their pollution controls as well. The assumption was that older plants would eventually be replaced by newer plants that would be cleaner as well as more efficient.

    But people skeptical of new source review have contended that it can have perverse effects by discouraging managers of plants built in the 1940's and 1950's from doing anything to make them more efficient, since modernization can necessitate costly new pollution-control measures.

    Some environmentalists have criticized plant managers for carrying out extensive overhauls but disingenuously describing them as "maintenance" to skirt the new source review regulations.

    While not surprising, Ms. Whitman's action is certain to touch off new debates, both in the political arena and in the courts, where environmental groups and a group of Northeastern states, led by New York and Connecticut, plan to file suit against the changes.

    "The Bush administration decided to allow corporate polluters to spew even more toxic chemicals into our air, regardless of the fact that it will harm millions of Americans," said John Walke, director of Natural Resources Defense Council's clean air program. "More than 30,000 Americans die every year from power plant air pollution alone, and crippling the standards will only make things worse." The environmental group said it would take legal action against the rule change.

    States in the Northeast have long complained that their air (and the lungs of their residents) are fouled by pollutants that descend on the region in the natural west-to-east flow of the winds.

    The changes announced today, which are administrative and do not need Congressional approval, have been sought by utilities and by the coal and oil industries. Ms. Whitman said more than a year ago that her staff was drafting a new approach to controlling emissions.

    Ms. Whitman's announcement made official what had been known for many months: that the Bush administration wanted to revise some sections of the Clean Air Act in ways that would answer utilities' complaints that the rules tied them up in paperwork and deterred investment in new power plants needed to provide electricity to consumers and businesses. The last major amendments to the act were adopted in 1990.

    The move puts the Bush administration at odds not only with some environmental groups but with some politicians normally friendly to President Bush.

    Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, a fellow Republican, has long opposed the White House's approach on the issue. So has another New York Republican, Representative Sherwood L. Boehlert, of the Utica area. Air pollution has been a major concern in New York State for decades, in part because polluted air coming from the west has been blamed for fouling the once pristine skies and lakes in the state's Adirondacks region.

    The Clinton administration initiated several lawsuits against operators of some big coal-fired electric plants, contending that their "maintenance" over the years amounted to changes that should have triggered new source review. Some utilities settled and agreed to cut back on pollution. But other operators backed away from negotiations with the government, hoping that the rules would be relaxed.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   l.rae
    we better be getting our own supply of energy and fast......as stated in the artical, there are differing oppinions regarding the effect on the environment, so l guess it is whomever's propaganda you choose to believe.....but we better become less dependant of foreign oil and energy and in a practical manner....Last year we had some college kids passing around petitions to require one of the major steel industries in the area to do a bunch of environmental improvements....so l ask this young lady...do you have any idea of the amount of pple that will be out of work if this plant closes down..NO....do you have ANY idea of the effect on the local economy if this plant leaves town?....NO.."we don't want to close them down"....I just laugh in her face....dang liberals.....full of good ideas and no practical way to pay for them...oh wait a minute, they can raise my taxes and lay off my hubby.....aaaaaahhhhhhhhgggggg...sorry for the rant ted, are we still friends?....l will let you borrow my gas mask...HAHA
  4. by   Youda
    Instead of giving big tax breaks and reductions of standards to the big refineries to pollute the environment, I'll bet that if the same tax breaks and financial incentives were used to develop alternate energy sources, we could have clean air, jobs, and energy all at the same time. You just gotta remember that Pres. Bush is from Texas (any oil down there, you think?) Does anyone remember how toxic the air was in the 1980s before these laws were enacted? Everyone was screaming for controls, and they will be again. lrae, you'll need your gas mask.
  5. by   l.rae
    referingto the fact that W is from Texas is political hooha....useful if you are supporting the liberal point of view.....l doubt we will regress to the 1980 standard...this is a typical scare tactic...l am saving my gas mask in case we decide to not take Sadam out afterall........LR
  6. by   Ted
    I'm from New York. We have acid rain. It's killing our lakes.

    Why does requiring energy companies to produce less pollution mean a reduction in the work force?!? The arguement of "job reduction" is a scare tactic! Big Business is going to lay off people no matter what. . . . . But that's another topic for another thread for another time.

    Honestly, I don't claim to be "all knowledgable" about this particular subject. This debate over the problems of air pollution has been going on for decades now. It's my understanding that the world's scientists. . . for the most part. . . . think that continuing the pollution of our air isn't good for us. Smog just isn't a good thing. This administration's decision to allow more pollution just seems like a major step backward. Definately not forward thinking. Definately not thoughtful to the people and animals who need to breath air.

    Aren't we a country rich in technology? Why can't we invest our financial and time in producing the technology that produces environmental-friendly energy? High financial cost? Probably in the short run. But not in the long run, I wouldn't think, as mass production of the environmental-friendly energy takes hold.

    The quick and easy fix: Lower Pollution Standard. Sickens me!

    Did I tell you that acid rain is killing our states lakes and streams? Our Republican governor doesn't like this particular relaxation in pollution standards as this article points out.

    I only put this thread in the War/Terrorism forum just so heated debates won't disturb the peace and tranquility of the "Off Topic" forum. . . . :chuckle :roll :chuckle

    Cheers!

    Ted

    (I hope we're still friends! )
  7. by   Youda
    I agree, Ted. It's a scare tactic to say people will lose their jobs. How can maintaining the status quo hurt jobs? How can relaxing those standards hurt jobs? The only thing that is getting hurt is all living things on the planet. Did you know that Wyoming, without major industries, has a high per capita rate of COPD? Wanna know why? Because Wyoming gets all the polution FROM the west coast. Remember all those emmission controls that were made law for automobiles? Now GW wants car maufacturers to make cars that get better gas mileage. Guess how that's going to get done? Remove the emission controls, and if you think acid rain is bad now . . . Hopefully the environmentalists will win their lawsuits. And here we go again . . . anyone against GW's ideas is anti-American and anyone who likes to breathe is a tree-hugger.
    'Friendly exchange of ideas here.
  8. by   l.rae
    ted, l am warming up my bic just for you baby!...but l am too tired tonight to spark.....l only harass my friends....you say stop l say start, you say black l say white....gotta keep you on your toes and educate you in the process..LOL.....saying a prayer tonight that you will see the light.....luv ya......LR.....ps..you are my favorite liberal.....teeitup tom won't argue with me.
  9. by   kmchugh
    Originally posted by Youda
    Instead of giving big tax breaks and reductions of standards to the big refineries to pollute the environment, I'll bet that if the same tax breaks and financial incentives were used to develop alternate energy sources, we could have clean air, jobs, and energy all at the same time. You just gotta remember that Pres. Bush is from Texas (any oil down there, you think?)
    Actually, you are exactly right. Big oil and the auto industry don't want us to develop alternative energy sources so long as there is one drop of oil left to be pulled out of the ground. HOWEVER, laying the blame at the feet of Bush is a little unfair, to say the least. What are the democrats out banging the drum about? Energy? Not hardly, they are decrying the terrible republican party. No one in politics today is going to make the oil and auto industries unhappy, because to do so would be to commit political suicide.

    Kevin McHugh
  10. by   Ted
    I can't blame the Republican party . . . alone. . . for any problems with our nation. . . I actually blame both. . . we need more parties! Preferably with lots of food a drinks. . . but I digress. . .

    I don't even blame the current administration for any current problems regarding pollution. . . we all have share of blame for that (including me. . . god, my own body gasses have increased the methane levels in our atmosphere! ) However. . . why take steps backwards in allowing amounts of "pollutants" in the air. . . .

    Cheers,

    Ted

    (More later if I have the time. )
  11. by   Youda
    Originally posted by kmchugh
    HOWEVER, laying the blame at the feet of Bush is a little unfair, to say the least.
    Of course, you are right.
    It's like this, Kevin. When the Democrats are in office, we complain about the Republicans. When the Republicans are in office, we complain about the Republicans. Just kidding.

    You've read my other posts about politics. I'm really not one party or another. It's just that since we don't have an intern scandal to complain about, we just as well complain about GW's policies.

    Alternate energy resources and how to apply them have been around for decades. The biggest problem, I think, is that the American people LIKE the big cars that go fast. Try a two-seater solar powered dune buggy that only goes 25 mph and runs out of power after 60 miles and see how many of them sell, no matter what the Middle East is doing. Try solar heating your house under a week long overcast sky and you're thermostat won't be set at 70 degrees! Well, just trying to say that I agree that it isn't all GW's fault.
  12. by   l.rae
    l saw an interesting interview on FOXNews the other day...l wish l could remember this minister's name and organization, sorry but l can't...Anyway, he was a Christain Fundalmentalist(sp)....who promotes driving fuel efficient cars...their spin..."WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE?"....the reporter asked him how he got in the same corner with the liberals...(jokingly)...although this minister came off as a .....little over the top, he did have some good points. He said your car choice is an ethical/moral issue.....LR
  13. by   rncountry
    rae, saw that on the Tonight show a week or so back. Jay Leno said well let's see, Jesus was single, he lived in a rural area and was a carpenter. What would he likely drive? Well, a truck of course!
    In 1981 I moved to New Hampshire, lived there two and a half years. I know this was a long time ago, but I remember the hundreds of dead pine trees in the mountains from acid rain. I also recall having the rain actually burn my skin one particular day.
    I am a big believer that there are so many bright and energetic people in this country that there is not a problem that cannot be solved if we work at it. Alternative fuels must be found. Since I live in the car state, it is interesting to note that there are tax breaks being set up for companies that are actively working to find alternative ways to fuel vehicles. One of the very few things the outgoing Republican Governor did that I agreed with. There is experimentation of fuel cells going on, as well as other things. It can be good business as well as good for the environment to learn to go green. But it takes the ability to be able to seek change instead of hiding from it and letting fear rule the day.
    I have great difficulty with simply loosening regulations, this planet is not just ours, it is billions of other people's as well. Not to mention that I would like to pass something on to my grandchildren that is better, not worse.
  14. by   rebelwaclause
    I guess this strengthens my argument that America..."Land of the Free", can and does act as terrorists.

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