It was a week and a day ago that President Barack Obama announced that he would ignore the Clean Air Act, which requires the President to set science-based policies to protect Americans from air pollution. Obama declared that he would not even attempt to institute strong regulations to protect Americans from deadly levels of smog.
A scientific review had earlier reported that between 4,000 and 12,000 Americans will die every year because of the lack of effective anti-smog regulations (Fewer than 3,000 Americans died as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.) Barack Obama ignored the threat to American lives. He stated that the would take the course of action recommended by George W. Bush and the American Petroleum Institute, and do nothing.
Congress came back into session this week, and had the opportunity to correct President Obama’s neglect. It did not do so.
Not one member of either the House of Representatives or the Senate so much as spoke in protest of President Obama’s decision to leave the American people unsecured against poisonous gases in the air.
These representatives and senators will all offer conspicuous memorials of the relatively small number of deaths from terrorist attack, because those deaths fit nicely within their chosen political frame: The idea that Americans have to fear evil foreigners, and spend huge amounts of money on military machines to provide for defense.
To confront the much more dangerous threat from smog is less convenient to their political agendas. To reduce the threat of smog would, after all, require Americans to look at their own behaviors, and for powerful corporate donors to restrain their impulse to seize profit regardless of the consequences.