November 17, 2011

THE VALUE OF NOT BELIEVING ANYTHING:

Re-election Strategy Is Tied to a Shift on Smog (JOHN M. BRODER, 11/16/11, NY Times)

The summons from the president came without warning the Thursday before Labor Day. As she was driven the four blocks to the White House, Lisa P. Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, suspected that the news would not be good. What she did not see coming was a rare public rebuke the president was about to deliver by rejecting her proposal to tighten the national standard for smog.

The half-hour meeting in the Oval Office was not a negotiation; the president had decided against ratcheting up the ozone rule because of the cost and the uncertainty it would impose on industry and local governments. He clearly understood the scientific, legal and political implications. He told Ms. Jackson that she would have an opportunity to revisit the Clean Air Act standard in 2013 -- if they were still in office. We are just not going to do this now, he said.

The White House announced the decision the next morning, infuriating environmental and public health advocates. They called it a bald surrender to business pressure, an act of political pandering and, most galling, a cold-blooded betrayal of a loyal constituency.

"This was the worst thing a Democratic president had ever done on our issues," said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters. "Period."

The full retreat on the smog standard was the first and most important environmental decision of the presidential campaign season that is now fully under way.

Only the Right is still convinced he's an ideologue, and evidence doesn't matter to them.

Posted by at November 17, 2011 6:37 AM
  

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