Sen. Whitehouse slams Obama on Environmental Ozone Standards
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse rarely hammers President Obama. But the Rhode Island Democrat is taking issue with Obama’s decision to delay new air quality standards for smog, saying the Obama Administration is taking a short-sighted course that will harm Rhode Island’s air quality without helping the economy.
The president bowed to pressure from Republicans and the energy industry who want to curb regulatory actions by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA standards would have cut smog air pollution from power plants, refineries and automobiles by instituting stricter standards for ozone pollution.
But Obama, at the behest of anti-regulatory GOP members of Congress, ordered EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to with the Ozone National Air Quality Standards, which had the effect of leaving in place the ozone rules left over from the administration of George W. Bush.
“I am deeply disappointed in the Obama White House’s decision to defer acting on ozone pollution a decision that will directly harm Rhode Island,’’ said Whitehouse in an interview with WRNI. “Only national enforcement will protect us here in Rhode Island from the bad-air days we experience due to ozone caused by out-of-state power plants, many of which are in the Midwest.’’
Whitehouse says the Midwestern power plants have huge smokestacks that spew pollutants into the prevailing wind that bring ozone to Rhode Island.
Whitehouse also said that he wants the president to “show some fortitude’’ tonight when he unveils his new jobs program in a speech to a joint session of Congress.
The president ought to take strong measures to create jobs by rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, especially crumbling roads, bridges and water providers. Whitehouse also says the administration should get tough with China on the currency issue, launch new green energy initiatives and provide tax credits to businesses that hire the long-term unemployed.