On Friday afternoon, as brave and committed activists continued their non-violent civil disobedience outside the White House in protest of the tar sands pipeline that would lead to a massive increase in global warming pollution, President Obama ordered the EPA to abandon its pursuit of new curbs on emissions that worsens disease-causing smog in US cities. Earlier this year, the EPA’s administrator, Lisa Jackson, wrote that the levels of pollution now permitted — put in place by the Bush-Cheney administration– are “not legally defensible.” Those very same rules have now been embraced by the Obama White House.
Instead of relying on science, President Obama appears to have bowed to pressure from polluters who did not want to bear the cost of implementing new restrictions on their harmful pollution—even though economists have shown that the US economy would benefit from the job creating investments associated with implementing the new technology. The result of the White House’s action will be increased medical bills for seniors with lung disease, more children developing asthma, and the continued degradation of our air quality.
This is the latest sign of the environmental movement’s growing dissatisfaction with Obama. If the Obama administration ends up approving the Keystone XL pipeline after the massive civil disobedience protests against it, it would greatly exacerbate the sense of betrayal many feel in the environmental community.