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The Whole Ozone

Hmmm:

President Barack Obama, citing the struggling economy, asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to withdraw an air-quality rule that Republicans and business groups said would cost millions of jobs.

The surprise move—coming on the same day as a dismal unemployment report—reflected the energy industry’s importance as a rare bright spot in adding U.S. jobs. The tighter standards for smog-forming ozone could have forced states and cities to limit some oil-and-gas projects.

In making the move, the White House clearly judged that it had more to lose from industry and Republican criticism than it had to gain from environmental groups who support the rule.

The implementation of the ozone rule was difficult to defend. Bush had just lowered permissible ozone levels only a year before. Implementing this was going to blow a hole in the economy of up to $90 billion (assuming the standards can be met, which is not clear). Of course, the EPA estimated it would save 12,000 lives a year (perhaps; it’s disputed). But, even assuming they’re right, that’s $7.5 million per life saved. $7.5 million should save a lot more than one life.

Naturally, the Left is furious. I’ve heard more than one liberal say this is the last straw with Obama. Of course, they’ve been saying that since January 21 of 2009, so take that with some salt.

I think what’s happened here is that Obama got caught between panders. He tried to pander to the environmentalists by rushing in ozone standards too quickly and without proper study. I have no idea if he ever intended to enforce them, but he’s at the point now where he can’t. The economy is too weak and resistance is too strong. So he panders back by delaying them.

Result? The Right is pissed that he tried to put the standards in place and the Left is pissed because he didn’t. Well played.

I suspect, however, that we haven’t heard the end of this. As usual, the Left is caterwauling because they’re not getting right now what they’re likely to get later. The Clean Air Act is up for renewal in 2013. And there’s an election before then. It’s likely that ozone standards will be tightened at some point. Hopefully, they’ll wait for the technology to catch up to the point where the economic impact is minimal.

5 comments

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  1. West Virginia Rebel says:

    I think Obama is looking at his reelection chances and thinking that he’d better look like a centrist while he can.
    West Virginia Rebel recently posted..Green BustMy Profile

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  2. Rann says:

    Which will never, ever work. The Right knows it’s not true, and the Left wants him to be Lord Obama The Republicanslayer, so faking centrist is just going to lose him more votes than it could ever possibly gain him.

    Sure is fun to watch him flail at it, tho.

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  3. Seattle Outcast says:

    Oh, well, if the EPA said it, it must be true. Just like all those drowning polar bears that don’t exist…

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  4. Hal_10000 says:

    I think Chait hit the nail on the head with LW whining: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/magazine/what-the-left-doesnt-understand-about-obama.html?_r=2&ref=magazine

    They have gotten so much of what they wanted under this President that it’s just sad how much they’re complaining. It just goes to show that you will never ever satisfy the Left. The biggest expansion of government since the 1970′s and, to hear them, you’d think Obama was Barry Goldwater.

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  5. Hal_10000 says:

    To be fair, there’s a lot to complain about with Obama on civil liberties. But most Democrats don’t give a shit about that unless a Republican is in office.

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