Fridays before, say, a big Holiday weekend, is when the powers-that-be (e.g., the White House) like to dump controversial news (translation, another cave to the ruling Oligarchs and the GOP), in the hopes no one will notice, because, you know, we're all happily firing up our grills and on the road to be with family. No such luck, Jay, we're watching closely. AND WHAT A NEWS DUMP THIS WAS.
Keith is actually kind to the President by not enumerating this administration's ABYSMAL environmental record, having CAVED to the Republicans and the corporate POLLUTERS LOBBY on coal burning plants, offshore drilling, nuclear plant safety, and a whole panoply of environmental issues that actually impact the quality of our lives and health of our people in very real ways. "A majority of our contributors said it was fending off an all-out assault on environmental policies and regulations from Tea Partyers and other conservatives in Congress. " Oops ... Bad timing. That was then (July 25), this is now (September 4) one day after Obama condemned people with life-threatening breathing ailments and illnesses to, well, fend for themselves, and good luck! 'cause the Prez is all about getting re-elected by any means necessary.
Here's the Chicago Tribune, historically a Republican newspaper, reporting on hazardous coal-burning plant pollution in the President's own backyard. When you and your children have to live with it, somehow party labels don't seem so important:
Last graph, emphasis MINE. MEMO TO MSNBC: DO YOUR F-ING JOBS! Is this how much President Obama "cares"— or this?[S]ome power companies already have moved to clean up their coal plants. And supporters note that recent power auctions guarantee there will be enough electricity to meet demand for years after the rule takes effect, even if some older plants are shuttered.
"It is disappointing, irresponsible and coldhearted for the power companies that are operating these plants not to make the sensible, relatively easy and inexpensive changes the (Environmental Protection Agency) is requesting," said Mary Gade, a Chicago lawyer who served as President George W. Bush's regional EPA administrator.
Coal-fired power plants are the biggest man-made source of mercury contamination, one of the last kinds of pollution to be targeted for limits under the federal Clean Air Act. Uncontrolled for years, the pollution is so pervasive that Illinois and 43 other states advise people, especially women of childbearing age and young children, to avoid or limit eating certain types of fish because they often are contaminated with high levels of the toxic metal.
Chicago is a pollution "hot spot" where relatively large amounts of mercury fall, according to EPA research. But there already are signs of improvement since officials in Illinois and other states ordered power companies in the mid-2000s to start limiting mercury pollution.
Nationwide, coal plants emitted about 68,000 pounds of mercury in 2009, down from 94,000 pounds in 2005, according to a Tribune analysis of federal records. The amount of mercury emitted per megawatt hour of electricity generated dropped in all but 11 states.
However, federal officials estimate that about 40 percent of the nation's coal plants still aren't equipped to reduce mercury emissions. That concerns regulators because mercury tends to fall back to earth close to its source and it takes only a small amount to contaminate lakes and streams.
The proposed rule also requires more stringent limits on soot, or fine particles. The EPA estimates that portion of the rule will annually prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks and 120,000 asthma attacks.