A federal appeals court blocked the Bush administration's four-year effort to loosen emission rules for aging coal-fired power plants, unanimously ruling yesterday that the changes violated the Clean Air Act and that only Congress could authorize such revisions.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with officials from 14 states, including New York, California and Maryland, who contended that the rule changes -- allowing older power plants, refineries and factories to upgrade their facilities without having to install the most advanced pollution controls -- were illegal and could increase the amount of health-threatening pollution in the atmosphere.
The fact that 14 states were part of litigation speaks to the Bush administration's disconnect from the people it claims to represent. Obviously, this is good news for eastern Canada, given the massive amount of U.S emissions that drift into the region. In an age where the world struggles to reduce emissions, the Bush administration offers the stone age mentality, actually arguing for looser restrictions. Huh?
However, for every positive development, the Bush administration moves on other environmental targets. Clearly, unable to take repeated NO's for an answer, we find this sad attempt to re-start the ANWR issue:
A last-minute deal to secure the vote of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on a $2.8 trillion budget plan has given new life to the Republican drive to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
The budget blueprint for fiscal 2007, which will begin in October, includes a $10 billion Gulf Coast restoration fund that would be financed from the leasing of arctic refuge drilling rights, revenue from new drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico and further sales of the broadcast spectrum. With that provision in hand, Landrieu cast the only Democratic vote for the budget resolution, which squeaked through Thursday night, 51 to 49.
It remains a longshot, given the past vote rejections, but the simple fact that this issue has re-emerged speaks to a single-minded, industry driven philosophy that has no regard for anything but potential profits. If only the American Senate were allowed to vote on the Iraq war over and over and over. Is it 2008 yet?