Saturday, July 05, 2003

Even Their Fig Leafs Need Fig Leafs

That's what the "Clear Skies Initiative" was in the first place, wasn't it? A way of packaging the naked truth about this administration's faith based certainty that "ennvironmental extremists" were ruining the country with their insistence that extractive energy companies shouldn't be the ones setting environmental policy for the country.

So Rove & co came up with a Repubican initiative dedicated to a future of clear skies for us, and clear sailing for a Bush reelection, and a general all round triumph of Republican values.

Damn, if those environmental extremists, from the Sierra Club to the Atlantic Salmon Federationweren't all over their proposals, tearing apart the details; it's the focus on details that makes the environmental movement so extreme.

But most Americans are still worried about the air they breathe, and they're beginning to worry about global warming, so...back it was to the drawing board for the Bush administration.

EPA Issues Rosier 'Clear Skies' Analysis, Based on New Model
Agency Denies Hiding Data on Rival Bill

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a new, optimistic assessment of the benefits of President Bush's anti-air-pollution bill yesterday and disputed claims that it had intentionally hidden data showing that a competing Senate plan would provide greater long-term public health benefits at only a slightly higher cost.

Here's what those claims EPA is disputing are all about:

EPA Withholds Air Pollution Analysis
Tuesday, July 1, 2003; Page A03


The Clear Skies proposal is designed to reduce power plant emissions over the next 20 years. A centerpiece of Bush's environmental policy, its passage could burnish his 2004 reelection credentials. But the president's plan does not address carbon dioxide emissions, which many scientists consider an important greenhouse gas that may contribute to the Earth's warming.

Bush's stand has drawn sharp criticism on several fronts, and a bipartisan group of senators has proposed an alternative bill that would limit carbon dioxide emissions. Unreleased information from an EPA internal analysis concludes that the competing bill would provide health benefits substantially superior to those envisioned under Clear Skies.

The administration does have it's supporters, none of whom could be characterized as "extremists."

Utilities push Clear Skies Act

WASHINGTON - The electric power industry is lining up "grassroots" support among its employees, retirees and stockholders for President Bush's beleaguered Clear Skies air pollution bill.

The bill would change the Clean Air Act, creating a new way of policing air pollution from power plants. In place of mandatory pollution controls, it would create a national "cap and trade" system in which utilities could buy and sell pollution allowances and choose their own technology for reducing pollution.

Nothing extreme about good old-fashioned self-interest; where would this country be without it?

Frank O'Donnell clears up what's so muddy, environmentally speaking, and yet so transparent politically, about Karl Rove's version of clear skies here.