In a country that purports to be so ambitious and cutting-edge, America is sorely behind the ecological curve. Now, eleven pro-green groups and seventeen states have sued the E.P.A. over its stalling.
Democrats accused the agency of dragging its feet in anticipation of Bush’s departure from office in January of 2009, so that GW could slip out of office unscathed by green geeks and their eco-causes. (How could this truck-driving Texan face his oily constituents if he were to get mixed up in issues like emissions control?)
One year ago, E.P.A. administrator Stephen Johnson was charged with the responsibility of formulating a plan for regulating greenhouse emissions. Johnson has been too busy, it seems, shirking his duties to the people and their planet—and keeping cars on the road.
Under pressure, Johnson has procured a sudden solution. He told the press to expect new emissions standards “later this spring” on "the specific effects of climate change and potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources."
The Bush administration, which has resisted regulating carbon dioxide emissions, this spring will propose rules that could affect everything from vehicles to power plants and oil refineries, the top U.S. environmental official told Congress on Thursday.
…Johnson’s letter to congressional leaders was a response to a landmark 2007 ruling by the Supreme Court that the EPA must reconsider its 2003 refusal to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from new cars and trucks under the Clean Air Act.
Johnson’s letter sets in motion a long process of seeking comments from industry and the public, with at least two chances to change course before final rules are issued.
So, after twiddling his thumbs for over a year, Johnson suddenly has a slapdash solution to a potentially apocalyptic problem? If his track record is any indication, America’s in trouble.
David Hawkins, a climate change expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Reuters, "The name of the game here is to run out the clock, basically. All of this stuff will come in a big pile and it will be on the next administration’s desk."
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