Sunday, September 02, 2012

Kelly disses the EPA

Jack Kelly fires a shotgun blast of complaints today towards the EPA. Which is interesting, given that the Republican convention just ended, and Kelly could have talked about the platform and Republican proposals for the economy and our society. Or Kelly could have addressed the accusations that both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney lied through their teeth in their convention speeches. Or Kelly could have talked about Ryan's boast that he had run a sub three hour marathon, which a day later he had to admit was actually a four hour and one minute marathon. Jeez, I ran a faster marathon than Mr P90x.

But Mr Kelly talked about none of those things, instead essentially crowing about how Republicans have packed the DC Court of Appeals, repeatedly blocking and refusing to vote on first Bill Clinton's and the Barack Obama's nomiinees. Now the children of America will suffer from asthma and early death thanks to Republican intransigence. The first thing Kelly mentions is an August 21st decision by the Court to block new EPA rules for coal fired power plants. Kelly quotes the Court as saying the EPA exceeded it's authority under the Clean Air Act. Interestingly, the group of lawyers that forms the Natural Resources Defense Council (and the dissenting opinion on the Court) said exactly the opposite.

Kelly next mentions how the DC Court blocked a suit against EPA on technical grounds concerning an increase of ethanol in gasoline from 10% to 15%. Kelly says that much ethanol can harm engines, especially older ones. Now apparently the EPA rules would have permitted the higher ethanol in cars newer than 2007, but ...

This might be one of those rare areas of agreement between me and Jack Kelly. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of bio diesel made from whatever - sugar cane, switch grass or, yes, corn. But the gasoline additive ethanol ... I have never trusted it. Kelly is likely correct that the EPA is advancing a political agenda in supporting ethanol, but to be fair, it is an agenda set during the Bush administration. There was apparently a 2007 law pushing the higher amounts of ethanol, which means a Democratic Congress passed it (pushed by farm state Congressmen, no doubt) and a Republican President signed it. Popular Mechanics goes into how it harms engines and some of the politics. I am with Kelly that ethanol is a poor direction for us to be going in.

Kelly also mentions fracking and the wonderfulness of natural gas. But I think we have all heard about ground water contamination related to fracking; Kelly uses concerns about groundwater to assert that it is clear the EPA is not actually concerned about air pollution! The Atlantic spends some time last spring talking about the EPA and fracking, but only in terms of air pollution. I guess the industry and Republicans have successful forced the EPA to roll over on protecting our water.

Kelly has lots of other accusations, including the oft-repeated claim the Obama's green energy initiative (which I think would be more Department of Energy than EPA, but Kelly doesn't care) is actually a scheme to enrich Obama donors. Factcheck dot org addresses that in detail, and finds indications of sloppiness but none of these pay to play accusations.

The last accusation I will deal with is that the EPA is using drones to inspect farms and ranches for pollution. The EPA does use planes to make aerial inspections, saving taxpayers thousands. But the Washington Post found the drone story to be totally made up.

I guess just like ignoring the lies Republicans told at their convention, Jack Kelly does not care about truth in his own column.

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