LA Smog Image credit:Flickr, biofriendly
When EPA's proposed revisions to Federal air quality (ozone) standards were delayed, my impression was that the move was led by White House political strategists and had nothing to do with what American citizens prefer. Ten (10) polls recently conducted for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the League of Women Voters of the US (LWV), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) corroborate these suspicions. Here are the poll highlights in aggregate, as cited by NRDC.
"Nationwide, 70 percent of Americans disapproved of Obama's decision to block the ozone pollution standard while only 30 percent approved...Nearly four out of five Americans (78 percent) want the EPA to hold corporate polluters accountable for what they release into the community. Better than four out five women (83 percent) and 80 percent of Latino women share this view."Yes, Federal regulations have costs. They also generally come with measurable economic and social benefits, without proof of which a rule will seldom be made final.
EPA's proposed rule to further curtail emissions of smog forming substances would significantly reduce human suffering and lower future health care costs. This will be especially important for the elderly: a growing demographic that is especially vulnerable to lung and heart disease. These diseases are strongly influenced by exposure to smog constituents.
Don't just blame the Republicans.
It seems unlikely the Administration's decision to set aside EPA's proposed ozone standards was simply a reaction to the Republican political strategy of attacking all-things EPA, an Aministration reaction that would prospectively reduce the risk of being, once again, falsely labeled as a 'job killer'.
Ignorance of popular sentiments, as indicated by the 10 polls, may also have been a factor, I would agree
But, my gut tells me the decision to halt the promulgation of new smog standards was taken in large part after consideration of Wall Street interests. Consider strategic staff leadership at the White House.
USA Today profiled William Daley, Obama's new Chief of Staff, thus:
He ran Amalgamated Bank of Chicago before joining the Clinton administration. Since 2001, he has been president of SBC Communications, then Midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase.It appears that the move to evict Occupy Wall Street protestors has been postponed - for now.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue praised the appointment. "Bill Daley is a man of stature and extraordinary experience in government, business, trade negotiations and global affairs," he said. "He's an accomplished manager and strong leader."
Critics of the appointment worry that it means Obama will favor business over consumers in the days ahead.
Assuming the City of New York can find a compromise which allows peaceful protests to continue indefinitely, the next question is: How do citizens gain enough power to foreclose on Wall Street's ownership of government? With both Parties and both houses of Congress marching to the Wall Street beat, we will have to count on serendipity.