The Wall Street Journal ran an article last week featuring the President asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an air quality rule that would have many cities and counties, particularly those in oil and gas producing communities quaking in their boots.
The Journal article pitted Obama against EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson who made the decision to lower the attainment standards, and mentions Obama’s desire to reduce regulation in what he called a recovering economy.
I guess zero job growth and a 9 point whatever-it-is-today unemployment rate is considered recovery at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I and most people I know would consider that hovering somewhere between anemic and oh-my-god-we’re-all-going-to-die status, but that is a whole other story.
The news that the President is asking the EPA to back it off a notch will be welcomed by communities like mine that rely on the extraction industry as the bulk of their economy. In fact my county has been doing its own air quality study to try to shoo off Ms. Jackson’s non-attainment hit list and perhaps spare our local industry.
I will hazard a guess that the news was greeted with tentative applause by some in the coal industry which of late has occupied the EPA’s guillotine.
And on cue, the environmentalists came out accusing the White House of caving to the “corporate polluters”
I would advise everyone to hold their collective horses on both sides of the aisle. I quote from the WSJ article: “The White House left open the possibility that the standard could be tightened in 2013.”
So for those who are heaving a sigh of relief right now that they have escaped the non-attainment noose, and for those who fear that the President is pandering to evil oil, gas and coal, don’t bet on it.
If anything, the President is pandering to the middle of the road voters, to who he wishes to present himself as a thoughtful leader, willing to compromise and stand up to his own government on behalf of jobs.
Remember, he only has to hang in there for another 13 months, and if he is reelected, all bets are off.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that he will tighten those restrictions in 2013, because there will be absolutely nothing standing in his way at that point.