Monday, September 19, 2005

In Wake of Katrina, GOP Senator Seeks "Mother of All Environmental Rollbacks"

The chairman of the Senate’s environment committee is drafting legislation that would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend any anti-pollution regulations for 120 days to help in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

But a spokesman for EPA Chief Stephen Johnson told senators he "couldn't project" yet that he would need any such consideration, suggesting the anti-environmental legislation was unnecessary.

But that isn't stopping Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) from proposing what environmentalists are calling the "mother of all environmental rollbacks." The fact that it would help big Republican contributors in the energy industry is hardly coincidental.

The bill would give the EPA head the power for 120 days to waive or modify agency laws and rules if needed to respond to the hurricane. Governors would have to be consulted, but the administrator would have final say, according to the bill. The EPA has already suspended some of its clean-air requirements in the aftermath of Katrina to ease the flow of gasoline supplies.

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Inhofe proposed the legislation after he and other senators were briefed by Johnson on Sept. 14. A day later, spokesman Bill Holbrook, responding to Inhofe's proposal, told the Associated Press “there are still a number of unknowns and (Johnson) couldn’t project what he would need considering those unknowns.”

Others were more blunt in their distaste for the proposal.

“If adopted, this waiver could undermine public health protections. We should be focusing our energy on protecting the health and safety of people impacted by this hurricane, not paving the way for environmental abuse,” said Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT).

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) also said he would fight Inhofe’s “sweeping, unnecessary and ill-conceived” plan, and any attempt to attach it to a bill authorizing relief from Katrina.

Environmentalists also denounced the emerging proposal. “Here comes the mother of all environmental rollbacks,” Frank O’Donnell, president of the Clean Air Watch advocacy group, told the AP. “This could become a blank check for big polluters. It would also be a terrible precedent.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous emulatorloo said...

No Tragedy or Disaster is too severe to be Exploited by Republicans

Always there to push their agenda. . .

1:20 PM  
Blogger don dzikowski said...

There's no tragedy too severe for the Republicans to exploit for their own financial gain.
It's no longer a matter of Democrat verses Republican ideology, it's the Republicans pushing policies which divert from our government's most basic function of protecting human life and safety.
When will the masses wake up?
Blame the MSM for discrediting even the most rudimentary common sense principals through framing them into partison disputes.

4:10 PM  

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