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Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Bush's pollution charter
    #1842679 - 08/23/03 02:50 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Bush's pollution charter

Republican supporting energy firms set to escape controls on emissions

Julian Borger in Washington
Saturday August 23, 2003
The Guardian

The Bush administration plans to open a huge loophole in America's air pollution laws, allowing an estimated 17,000 outdated power stations and factories to increase their carbon emissions with impunity.
Critics of draft regulations due to be unveiled by the US environmental protection agency next week say they amount to a death knell for the Clean Air Act, the centrepiece of US regulation.

The rules could represent the biggest defeat for American environmentalists since the Bush administration abandoned the Kyoto Treaty on global warming two years ago. But the energy industry welcomed them, saying they were essential for maintaining coal-fired power stations.

The regulations are being challenged by 13 states including New York. If adopted, they would represent a multi-million dollar victory for energy corporations, most of whom are significant Republican contributors, and who were consulted in the drafting of the administration's energy plan by vice-president Dick Cheney in 2001.

The US accounts for a quarter of the world's carbon emissions, 10% more than all of western Europe combined. Environmentalists fear that, by relaxing its controls even further, America could undermine attempts to persuade other countries to stick to the targets laid out by Kyoto.

Under the current rules set in 1977, industrial sites built before the Clean Air Act are exempt from its controls until they are upgraded in any way, beyond "routine maintenance", that increases emissions. At that point companies have to install filters and other controls or face penalties.

Under the draft rules, seen by the Guardian, corporations can do far more than "routine maintenance" - investing in old plant up to 20% of its total value at a time - without having to spend money on anti-pollution equipment. The figure of 20% is highly controversial, and in some places in the document has been replaced by an "X". Elsewhere the figure has been left, apparently as an oversight.

The rules do not impose a time limit for the investment, allowing a firm to make successive upgrades to an old power station, oil refinery or factory - replacing it piece by piece, and spending hundreds of millions of dollars - as long as each upgrade costs less than a fifth of the plant's total value.

"The companies could completely rebuild their plants by gaming a gimmick that is designed to be gamed," said John Walke, of the Natural Resources Defence Council, a pressure group which leaked the draft."This is a massive giveaway," Mr Walke said. "The Bush administration, using an arbitrary, Enron-like accounting gimmick, is authorising massive pollution increases to benefit Bush campaign contributors at the expense of public health."

An agency spokesman said yesterday that the draft was being worked on and he could not comment on its contents.

Frank Maisano, spokesman for an industry group, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, said he was not familiar with the new rules. However, he said: "If it were to be set at 20%, that would be reasonable for a routine maintenance provision. The reality is you need to maintain your plants efficiently and reliably. The only thing the environmentalists here are interested in is getting rid of the coal plants," Mr Maisano said.

The change comes in the wake of victories for US justice department lawyers in cases against six big polluters in the electric power industry, forcing them to reduce emissions by more than half a million tons a year. However, analysts said that, under the new rules, the six would have won. The trade group representing the companies, Edison Electric Institute, contributed nearly $600,000 to the Republican party from 1999 to 2002, and had at least 14 contacts with the Cheney energy task force in 2001.

Eliot Spitzer, attorney general of New York, one state challenging the policy as being damaging to the health of residents, said he would mount a legal challenge as soon as the regulations were signed.


Don't worry, B. Caapi

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unintended sideeffect

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 841
Loc: In my pants
Last seen: 6 years, 2 months
Re: Bush's pollution charter [Re: Xlea321]
    #1842999 - 08/23/03 11:27 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

He did it in Texas, and if we let him, he's going to do it to all of us.

Why are there no riots in the streets yet?

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
  --  Howard Zinn

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Registered: 06/03/03
Posts: 2,633
Last seen: 14 years, 1 month
Re: Bush's pollution charter [Re: GernBlanston]
    #1843008 - 08/23/03 11:30 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

This is pretty sickening. I hate his environmental policy.

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Wild Woman
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Registered: 06/06/03
Posts: 23,391
Loc: In the jungle
Re: Bush's pollution charter [Re: Xlea321]
    #1843132 - 08/23/03 12:56 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)


Fucking shit.

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