Putting industry profits ahead of health concerns:
One of the strongest appeals came from North Carolina, a state Mr. Obama narrowly won in 2008. The state’s governor, Bev Perdue, a Democrat, argued against the new ozone rule. Her air quality director, B. Keith Overcash, wrote the E.P.A. pleading for a delay. “Lack of employment, loss of health care, and in some cases, loss of a home, also affect the health of our citizens,” he said.
Tough election season looming or not, actions like this must not go unchallenged. You're not the Director of Scary Propaganda, you're the Director of Air Quality. Act like it. When you join the ranks of these types:
For the West Wing gathering that day, Jack N. Gerard, the pugnacious head of the American Petroleum Institute, brought maps showing the areas that would be out of compliance with the proposed regulation in a vivid swath of red states across the Midwest and along the East Coast, states that Mr. Obama won in 2008. They did not need to spell out the implications.
“The maps were on the table,” said Khary Cauthen, director of federal relations for the petroleum group and a White House environmental adviser in the Bush administration. “One of the C.E.O.’s had a whole spiel he was going to do, ‘This is so bad here, so bad there,’ but Daley shut him up. He was like, ‘I got that.’ ”
John Engler, the former Republican governor of Michigan and president of the Business Roundtable, noted the burden to state and local officials. “I told him, ‘When there’s a cloud over your head about whether you’re going to be able to meet the new standard, you’re likely to lose new business to some other state,’ ” Mr. Engler said, referring to Mr. Daley.
“The governors had a big role,” Mr. Engler said. “They were very helpful.”
Then you've upset the formula that seeks to balance our need for a clean environment with our need for a healthy economic engine. Industry has a well-spring of well-paid advocates, and it doesn't need NC's protector of air quality to be one of them.
Air quality officials have issued a health notice for air pollution in the Charlotte metropolitan area on Friday.
Forecasters have predicted Code Orange conditions, which means that air quality in Charlotte is likely to be unhealthy for sensitive groups. People who are sensitive to air pollution should avoid moderate exertion outdoors. Sensitive groups include: children and older adults; people who work or exercise outdoors; people with heart conditions; and those with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other respiratory ailments.
The primary pollutant of concern is ozone, a highly reactive form of oxygen. Ozone can be unhealthy to breathe, and high levels generally occur on hot sunny days with stagnant air.
The air pollution forecast for Friday predicts that ozone levels in Charlotte will exceed the federal standard of 75 parts per billion averaged during eight hours. High ozone levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung ailments, older adults and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity in the afternoon, when ozone levels are highest.
And just to give you an idea of what industry reps think about all those health concerns:
Although she was under intense pressure from business and Congressional Republicans over the proposed rule, Ms. Jackson believed the White House would back her. In mid-July, she hosted a delegation of trade group officials at E.P.A. headquarters so they could present their concerns. Among those present were leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable and the American Petroleum Institute.
They tried a hard sell, according to R. Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce, noting that the new rule would push hundreds of counties out of compliance with the Clean Air Act and force them to devise costly new air pollution control plans. They suggested she wait until the next review in 2013.
“Lisa is very smart, cordial, friendly,” Mr. Josten said of Ms. Jackson. “She listened to us, but then talked about how important it was to do this, the lung thing, the asthma thing, the kids’ health thing. She felt it was important to go ahead.”
The categorization of those extremely important health issues as "things" is evidence of a complete detachment on the part of business. It's not their thing, it's somebody else's thing. And that somebody else is supposed to be you, Mr. Overcash.
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