Friday, February 4, 2011

Tijuana Know What's Coming?

A few years back, my family and I detoured from a visit to San Diego to south of the border. Walking toward a restaurant we'd heard of, the most striking thing was the density of pollution from automobiles. At a busy street corner, the eyes burned, the throat constricted, the view was through visible smog at ground level. Where it didn't stink of exhaust, it smelled of sewage. I remember thinking that this would be the US, were it not for our anti-pollution laws. It was impressive, I thought, how much we'd been able to clean up the air and the ground underneath it. Inadequate it may be, but it was nothing like that day in Mexico.

Hasta la vista, EPA. Good news for pulmonologists, oncologists, and, of course, big oil. Bad news for the rest of us.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a sharp challenge to the Obama administration, House Republican leaders intend to unveil legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases, officials said. They expect to advance the bill quickly.

EPA chief Lisa Jackson was due on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for the first time since Republicans took over the House and gained seats in the Senate. She probably will have to defend steps by the EPA to control air pollution and water pollution to Senate Republicans, who have introduced bills of their own to delay regulations aimed at abating climate change, or to bar the government from using any environmental law to fight global warming pollution.

Officials said the House bill, which was to be offered Wednesday, would nullify all of the steps the EPA has taken to date on the issue, including a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health.

In addition, it seeks to strip the agency of its authority to use the law in any future attempts to crack down on the emissions from factories, utilities and other stationary sources.

How nice it must be to live in a world where you can just disregard information you don't like. How clear it is what the party of teabaggers is all about: if it costs money -- especially to big businesses -- cut it. If it hurts people in the process, well, you're already living in a world where you can just disregard information you don't like. (Admittedly, it's sort of a leap, without evidence to support it, to conclude they actually don't like the fact that people will be hurt. cf: health care repeal.)

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