Thursday, December 07, 2006

Getting the lead back in

Merely one day after incoming chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Barbara Boxer, announced that the Bush administration's modus operandus of "weakening of environmental laws or secrecy or changes in the dead of night" will soon be over, the Bush adminstration decided that it might the right time to relax restrictions on lead emissions, as restricted by the Clean Air Act.
The Bush administration is considering doing away with health standards that cut lead from gasoline, widely regarded as one of the nation's biggest clean-air accomplishments.

Battery makers, lead smelters, refiners all have lobbied the administration to do away with the Clean Air Act limits.
The rationale is truly a mark of the beast: because lead emissions have been reduced by 90% since the Clean Air Act took effect, we -- as in Battery makers, lead smelters, refiners -- can start pumping lead back into the air. It is not a problem anymore, at least not until it becomes a problem again.
A preliminary staff review released by the Environmental Protection Agency this week acknowledged the possibility of dropping the health standards for lead air pollution. The agency says revoking those standards might be justified "given the significantly changed circumstances since lead was listed in 1976" as an air pollutant.

The EPA says concentrations of lead in the air have dropped more than 90 percent in the past 2 1/2 decades.
We used to have raw sewage floating down the middle of city streets way back when, creating all sorts of health hazards, but now that we don't, why, it seems like it might be time to ease those restrictions, too.


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