Climate + Energy

The Great Smog Sell Out


Bowing to fossil fuel industry and anti-environmental pressure, President Obama today ordered the EPA to withdraw its plans to strengthen nationwide air quality standards to limit ground-level ozone, the key ingredient of smog.

The White House actually had the gall to claim that the decision wasn’t political.

That’s complete bull.  This is putting politics ahead of public health plain and simple.

I can’t even begin to explain how misguided this is (maybe we could start with the lost $100 billion in health benefits?).  Even if one believed that playing politics with clean air was ethically sound, isn’t the point of political negotiating to get something in return?

Here, Obama’s giving up one of the most significant public health rules to ever be proposed in this country, yet what are we getting in return?  Nothing, except seemingly Obama’s “hope” that by caving into trade associations like the American Petroleum Institute, which is simply against any and all regulations, that they may give him their political support.

That’s the some of most insane wishful thinking I’ve ever heard.  And if this is what Obama means by “hope,” then he’s seriously mistaken about the integrity, ideals, and expectations of the American public.

People don’t want politicians selling out our environment for hopes.  Yet that’s exactly what Obama did here.

The one bright glimmer of hope here is that WildEarth Guardians is already poised to aggressively hold the Obama Administration accountable to cutting smog pollution nationwide.  Two weeks ago, we filed suit against the EPA over their failure to move to clean up areas that are violating the current smog standards.

The current standards, which were adopted in 2008, have been on hold while the EPA revised them.  Of course, with the revision now derailed, it’s time to hold EPA accountable.  Our suit aims to force EPA to designate areas violating the 2008 standards as “nonattainment,” triggering deadlines on states to clean up the air or face sanctions.

Among the areas that stand to benefit from this lawsuit–Western Wyoming, Phoenix, Salt Lake, Denver, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and dozens of other communities nationwide.

With the help of President Obama, the fossil fuel industry scored a victory against the environment this time.  But we’re not about to back down.  In fact, we think it’s time to get more aggressive than ever.

Godzilla could defeat the smog monster.  Why can’t President Obama?

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