Thursday, November 20, 2008

Midnight Madness

I'm so tired of being angry at these people. But they make it hard to stop...

Just when you think the final nail has been placed in this presidential administration's coffin, it rises from the dead for a few last deeds. This time it's in the form of "midnight regulations," which generally take years for the incoming folks to undo (if they can undo them at all). Apparently, the Bushies have relaxed environmental regulations protecting endangered species, by eliminating THE GOVERNMENT'S OWN SCIENTISTS from giving input when the government is constructing a highway, dam, or building in an area where endangered species live.

In a separate matter, the EPA is using the 11th hour to weaken the Clean Air Act so coal-fired power plants and oil refineries near national parks will be able to send significantly more pollutants into the air. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park here by me are especially supposed to be hurt.

From the Washington Post:
Don Shepherd, an environmental engineer at the National Park Service's air resources division in Denver noted that the agency determined in the 1980s that every one of its parks was "visually impaired," and "nothing really has changed that." Visitors to Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive in the mid-1930s reported seeing the Washington Monument more than 70 miles away; now, on some days, visibility is barely one mile.

Further down:
While limiting pollution in national parks does not have the broad public health implications of federal air-quality rules that govern soot or airborne lead pollution, it has symbolic and ecological importance. The four major pollutants affecting the parks -- sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and mercury -- contribute to degrading once-pristine habitats that Congress sought to preserve for generations when it decided to protect those areas.