Lest you think George W. Bush is filling all his time these days planning daughter Jenna’s wedding, think again. In the latest of a string of embarrassing events seemingly designed to do nothing more than keep him in the news (tap dancing, singing, saying the economy’s getting stronger, saying “those soldiers sure are lucky to be on the romantic front lines of war!”), President Bush is now smogging up our parks and forestland:
The Environmental Protection Agency weakened one part of its new limits on smog-forming ozone after an unusual last-minute intervention by President Bush, according to documents released by the EPA. EPA officials initially tried to set a lower seasonal limit on ozone to protect wildlife, parks and farmland, as required under the law. While their proposal was less restrictive than what the EPA’s scientific advisers had proposed, Bush overruled EPA officials and on Tuesday ordered the agency to increase the limit, according to the documents.
Because he knows what is scientifically appropriate. Ha ha ha ha ha!
Seriously, is his plan to just completely run this country into the ground before he leaves office? It’s not enough that he has sent thousands of American military personnel to their death, quadrupled the deficit, and made us a pariah in the international community — now he has to destroy the very air that we breath?
The president’s order prompted a scramble by administration officials to rewrite the regulations to avoid a conflict with past EPA statements on the harm caused by ozone.
Solicitor General Paul D. Clement warned administration officials late Tuesday night that the rules contradicted the EPA’s past submissions to the Supreme Court, according to sources familiar with the conversation. As a consequence, administration lawyers hustled to craft new legal justifications for the weakened standard.
The dispute involved one of two distinct parts of the EPA’s ozone restrictions: the “public welfare” standard, which is designed to protect against long-term harm from high ozone levels. The other part is known as the “public health” standard, which sets a legal limit on how high ozone levels can be at any one time. The two standards were set at the same level Wednesday, but until Bush asked for a change, the EPA had planned to set the “public welfare” standard at a lower level.
My favorite reasoning from the Bush Administration is this:
... Susan E. Dudley urged the EPA to consider the effects of cutting ozone further on “economic values and on personal comfort and well-being...”
But even better is the EPA’s response:
[T]he EPA’s Marcus Peacock responded in a March 7 memo: “EPA is not aware of any information that ozone has beneficial effects on economic values or on personal comfort and well being.”