If there is one thing the cadre of Republican presidential candidates can all agree on, it's that they want to destroy the "job-killing" Environmental Protection Agency. They think clean air and clean water are overrated. The government is trying to dictate our lung function. We have the right to breathe all the air we want, no matter the color. It's equal opportunity air.
Michele Bachmann, for one, wants to totally dismantle the "job-killing organization of America". Proud mother of five womb-derived and 23 foster children that she is, she vows to make EPA "the mother of all repeal bills." You'd think she might have a vested personal interest in air quality, given that some scientific studies point to a correlation between high pollution levels and emergency room visits for migraine headaches. Then again, the Teapublicans are famous for pretending to scoff at elitist science on purely fake religious grounds. But it's really all about the money, honey. If evolution were a profit-maker, they'd be all for it.
Rick Perry, who gained national notoriety for his pre-announcement Christian prayer-fest in Texas, is even more of an opportunistic crony capitalist than true right-wing ideologue. (Thanks to Marie Burns of RealityChex.com for this link).
So who is really behind this venomous anti-EPA Republican campaign issue? Not ordinary self-professed Republicans, who when polled, like the agency just fine and want it funded. Look no further than the Business Roundtable and its corporate cousins, comprising the most powerful CEOs on the planet.
Big Business put enormous pressure on the White House to delay new ozone emission standards for a record fourth time. It just costs them too much to give up polluting. The talking points in their letter to Obama* could have come right out of the Bachmann/Perry playbook, which really derive from the corporate playbook under the guise of that good old-time religion. If God didn't want us to breathe his air, he wouldna given us lungs... or something.
So, while the circumspect, rational and pragmatic President Obama would never go all fire and brimstone in calling for the end of the EPA itself, he is performing his Democratic corporatist role of defanging it, tooth by tooth, behind closed doors, at the behest of the powerful vested interests he, too, serves. No explanation, either -- simply that the EPA needs more time to "study" how best to implement the tough new ozone rules. Is it any coincidence that some of the major polluters/ "job creators" are in swing states crucial to the president's re-election? One of Obama's overriding mantras in his jobs agenda is to make it easier for businesses to hire. That means code for easing environmental regulations.
And the BRT cohort is most grateful to Obama for seeing things from their perspective. From their Aug. 12 press release: "The decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to seek further delay on its proposed ozone rules tells us the Obama Administration recognizes the disastrous consequences that more restrictive regulations would have on the economy and job creation." (bold mine).
So there you have it, people. You can either breathe or you can find a job. You can't have both. Wheeze while you work, (if you can) and stop griping about the heat dome overhead. You can't actually see pollutants, can you? They're a mirage, just like Perry's Texas Miracle. By creating yet another kicked can, our government (which purports to work in our best interests) has just become complicit in an estimated 12,000 deaths and 58,000 asthma attacks during the coming year.
*Text of August 3 Letter to Obama:
Dear Mr. President:And thus, the corporate titans shall give generously to both political parties, each of which shall operate in the interest of the Job Creators, while the Dems and Pubs go on pretending they don't have just tons of stuff in common.
As associations that represent thousands of American businesses, both large and small, who employ millions of U.S. workers, we are deeply concerned about the harmful impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed final rule on ground-level ozone could have on U.S. job creation and economic recovery. We strongly urge you to refrain from finalizing this rule and instead wait for the scientific review process currently underway in support of the required 2013 review to take its course.All of us value clean air. The companies we represent, their employees and their managers all care about the quality of the air that Americans breathe. All of us breathe the same air and so do our families. We appreciate the fact that ground-level ozone levels continue to drop across most of the United States under the current de facto standard established in 1997. Moreover, U.S. companies are proactively making significant investments to meet the stricter de jure standard established in 2008, even though it has not yet been implemented.The newest standard proposed by EPA, however, likely would cast hundreds of counties across the United States out of compliance, making it difficult for businesses to build new facilities in those counties or expand existing ones. Further, EPA has estimated the proposed standard will cost between $20 and $90 billion annually. In our view, EPA’s estimate is based on optimistic assumptions about the development of new control technology, meaning that the costs and impact on jobs and economic growth could be much worse.What we do know for certain is that EPA’s proposed rule, whether the final standard is 0.060 parts per million (ppm) or 0.070 ppm, would limit business expansion in nearly every populated region of the United States and impair the ability of U.S. companies to create new jobs.Mr. President, we urge you to delay this discretionary, out-of-cycle ozone standard and wait until 2013 before determining whether a new standard is needed. Now is not the time to saddle our economy with the extraordinary costs associated with EPA’s proposed national ozone standard.Thank you for your attention to the grave consequences of this proposed rule.Sincerely,Business Roundtable, American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.