I know even lobbyists and flacks for polluters have to make a living, Â but sometimes you have to wonder how they can stand to look at themselves in the mirror.
In March 0f 2008 the Bush Administration issued new rules establishing a standard of 0.075 parts per million for ground-level ozone, the main precursor of smog. Â (Not to be confused with the stratospheric ozone that protects us from ultraviolet radiation.) In doing so, the Bushies over-ruled their own scientific advisory panel, which had recommended a standard of between .06 and .07. Â Reportedly, the Beloved Leader intervened personally on behalf of his friends in the ahl bidness.
Now the Obama Administration has re-opened the rulemaking, and will accept comments on a proposed range of between .06 and .07, just as the Bush Administration’s scientific advisers had suggested. Â The American Petroleum Institute promptly issued a statement denouncing what it called “an obvious politicization of the air-quality standard-setting process.”
I haven’t looked at the benefit-cost analysis. Â I suppose it’s possible that the tighter regulation will turn out not to be cost-justified, though I’d be surprised, given the rules under which regulatory benefit-cost analysis is done. Â But to call a decision that respects scientific advice “a politicization of the process” is just gibberish, and I wish that the conventions of American journalism allowed reporters to follow up with appropriately withering questions, or just to say to the flacks, “I’m not printing that crap. Say something that isn’t a flat-out lie or I’ll just report that API is against the proposed new rule.”