Egret and crab

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Clearer heads sink Collins amendment

Congratulations to the United States Senate. Last week they defeated a bill SA 1660 to S.1830 by Maine Senator Susan Collins to table EPA boiler pollution requirements.

Her amendment would have abolished clean air standards for the second largest source of industrial toxic air pollution in America. This would result in more deaths and ailments for American citizens,

Her bill, in tandem with House bill H.R. 2250, would have nullified existing protection against air pollution toxins and mercury and delay compliance with any new standards for a minimum of three and one half years.

The amendment finally delivers the sweetheart gift to polluters, indefinite compliance delays, by prohibiting EPA from requiring compliance with new standards any "earlier than 5 years" after issuance, and then eliminating the Clean Air Act's firm compliance deadlines and allowing compliance to be delayed by 8, 10 or even 15 years more.

Congress has been dicking around on this issue for 21 years. The boiler rule has been postponed numerous times since it was first authorized as part of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments to take effect by 2000. When it's finally finalized later this year, big industry will have at least three years to comply with the rule, and state and local officials have the option of granting a pass for an additional year. EPA also said that the agency would consider providing exemptions for facilities on a case-by-case basis beyond that closure date.

Some experts believe that even a 3&1/2 year delay in boiler remediation rules would result in approximately 28,350 more premature deaths, over 17,000 heart attacks, and more than 180,000 cases of asthma attacks.

In addition, the legislation would force EPA to adopt standards that are "least burdensome" to industry even if they are most burdensome to the American people. The Collins amendment sought to impose "work practice" standards on industry, tune up your vehicles and change a few spark plugs and then it's business as usual instead of adopting measures that would help the health and well being of the American public. The pollution advocates want the EPA to abandon the longstanding requirement to adopt Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards if such standards require more from industry than work practice standards or any other weaker alternative to MACT.

The boiler measures are expected to reduce mercury by approximately 3,600 pounds per year and acid gases by 37,000 tons per year, totaling over 85,000 tons in toxic reductions. Mercury pollution is not good for children or other living things. I believe that Americans deserve clean air and the right to be free as conceivably possible of toxic substances. Shame on Susan Collins for her moves to gut the EPA.

The following Democratic Senators voted in favor of the Collins amendment: Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Shame on them as well.

We have to figure out how just many american lives are ultimately expendable for american jobs. Keep the american machine moving and all that. Just how many deaths are acceptable? And whose, of course.


Anonymous said...

Great story. As the elections near, maybe you could print more stuff like this. Loved the part on Democrats who voted for big biz polluters. Did any Republicans vote against the bill?

Blue Heron said...

I only found one republican voting against, Scott Brown. Sens Kirk and Thune did not vote.

Ken Seals said...

Shouldn't the cartoon be in Chinese?

Ken Seals said...

I meant the second one...