"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Change You Can Believe In

OK, maybe not. From NBC News:

A landmark Environmental Protection Agency report concluding that children exposed to toxic substances can develop learning disabilities, asthma and other health problems has been sidetracked indefinitely amid fierce opposition from the chemical industry.

America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition, is a sobering analysis of the way in which pollutants build up in children’s developing bodies and the damage they can inflict.

The report is unpublished, but was posted on EPA’s website in draft form in March 2011, marked “Do not Quote or Cite.” The report, which is fiercely contested by the chemical industry, was referred to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where it still languishes.

This is maybe not such a surprise:

Some present and former EPA staffers, who asked not to be named for fear of losing their jobs, blamed the sidetracking of the report on heightened political pressure during the campaign season. The OMB has been slow to approve environmental regulations and other EPA reports throughout the Obama Administration — as it was under George W. Bush according to reports by the Center for Progressive Reform, a nonprofit consortium of scholars, doing research on health, safety and environmental issues, which generally advocate for stronger regulation and better enforcement of existing law.

Just like Dubya. Who would have guessed?

Via AmericaBlog. Interesting comment there on one of the probable players, linking to this article at ThinkProgress (from 2009, no less):

How would progressives respond if President Bush nominated as “regulatory czar” a person who:

– Once called for changing the Clean Air Act to require a balancing of costs and benefits in setting national clean air standards – a fundamental weakening long sought by big polluters who believe it would help them resist cleanup;

– Urged the federal government to devalue senior citizens in calculating the benefits of federal regulations because “A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.” This is a concept dubbed the “senior death discount,” and that environmentalists forced EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman to renounce in 2003;

– Argued that it “might be better” to help future generations deal with global warming by “including approaches that make posterity richer and better able to adapt” than by “reducing emissions.”

– Even raised questions about the value of cleaning up Love Canal, reducing arsenic in drinking water and using child restraints in automobiles?

Progressives would’ve screamed, of course. But what will they do now that President-elect Obama appears poised to nominate Harvard Law School Professor Cass Sunstein to head the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)? For it’s actually Sunstein who has articulated the views noted above regarding clean air and the other issues involving costs, benefits and risk.

If you had any doubt that the Obama administration is firmly in the pocket of corporate America, wake up. The global warming bit is particularly rich: the government has been doing exactly the opposite on "making posterity richer" (although it's not all Obama's fault -- but enough of it is). You sort of have to ask: Whose posterity?

I think progressives need to start screaming again. As if anyone in Washington is listening.

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