President Obama ordered the EPA today to withdraw a proposal that would have tightened government smog standards. I can't say this comes as any surprise, as the Republicans in Congress had opposed the regulation, saying that it would have cost billions of dollars for businesses to comply. It was all but inevitable that Obama would bow down again to the right in the spirit of "compromise," as he has so many times before.
As a resident of one of the most polluted cities in the United States, I say, what about the cost to the people who are forced to breathe the polluted air, what about the medical costs that are incurred as a result, and the costs in lost productivity resulting from missed days at work? My wife suffers from asthma, and breathing the filthy summer air here in Charlotte causes her untold additional misery. Does her health and comfort rate so far below the monetary costs that would be paid by major corporations to clean up their acts?
Possibly the biggest irony is that if the smog regulations had been allowed to go forward, the money spent by the polluting corporations to comply with the rules would have been money spent on jobs... jobs producing the necessary equipment, doing the equipment upgrades and testing to make sure that the standards were being followed, researching and developing new clean air technologies. Isn't this what we really need right now?