The move by the Obama Administration on Friday sent shockwaves through the environmentalist community.
“Many MoveOn members are wondering today how they can ever work for President Obama’s reelection, or make the case for him to their neighbors, when he does something like this, after extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and giving in to tea party demands on the debt deal,” said MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben.
“This untenable delay means more will get sick and more will die. There is no possible acceptable excuse for this decision,” said American Lung Association President Charles Connor.
“The Sierra Club condemns the Obama administration’s decision to delay critical, long-overdue protections from smog, an acidic air pollutant that when inhaled is like getting a sunburn on your lungs. By putting the interest of coal and oil polluters first, the White House seems to be saying that ‘clean air will have to wait.’ A healthy economy requires clean air and healthy people, and these protections from smog would have improved our communities and saved billions of dollars in health costs. Half of U.S. families live in places where it is literally unsafe to breathe the air, and kicking the inhaler down the road will do nothing to protect our children,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.
“The Obama Administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health,” said the League of Conservation Voters.
What did Senator Barbara Boxer have to say? “Although I am disappointed with this decision to delay action, I am heartened by the President’s commitment to vigorously oppose any efforts to dismantle the Clean Air Act and the progress that we have made,” said Senator Boxer.
Boxer’s statement is illogical nonsense. The Clean Air Act requires that the federal government adopt science-based standards for clean air protection. The EPA conducted scientific studies finding that between 4,000 and 12,000 Americans are dying every year, and 58,000 new cases of severe asthma are being caused, by the levels of smog that Barack Obama has refused to control. The EPA’s economic analysis also found that proposed regulations of smog-causing ozone at oil and gas drilling facilities would have created more savings than costs to the American economy.
President Obama is certainly not “vigorously” opposing efforts to dismantle the Clean Air Act. The Obama Administration is helping the American Petroleum Institute to disable the Clean Air Act. Her defense of Barack Obama is profoundly dishonest, and compounds the insult to the environmental activists that make up the core of the Democratic Party base.
Senator Boxer has an important choice to make. She needs to decide whether she will value the environmental and health needs of the American people over the interests of partisan politics, or place partisan political interests in the lead, enabling the corporate polluter takeover of the Democratic Party. With her weak statement on Obama’s capitulation to the American Petroleum Institute, Boxer took a step toward sacrificing environmental needs on the altar of partisan loyalty.
If she is to retain the trust of American environmentalists, Senator Barbara Boxer needs to stop making excuses for Barack Obama, and denounce with clarity the Obama Administration’s abandonment of environmental responsibility and scientific integrity.