Wednesday, March 30, 2011

White House Getting Ready to Sell Out on Clean Air & Water?

Is the White House getting ready to trade away protections for clean air, the Chesapeake Bay, and Appalachian Mountains & their streams in an attempt to appease Congressional Republicans and their polluter friends? (UPDATE: A friend points out I'm wrong here - "'Trading away' would assume some sort of savvy quid-pro-quo where we actually GET something.")

The Associated Press updates budget negotiations:
The White House said Vice President Joe Biden and budget director Jacob Lew planned to meet Wednesday evening at the Capitol with Senate Democratic leaders.

A Democratic lawmaker familiar with a meeting Wednesday between Obama and members of the Congressional Black Caucus said the administration made it clear that some House GOP proposals restricting the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory powers would have to make it into the final bill. In order to characterize the White House's position, the lawmaker insisted on anonymity because the meeting was private.

It's not clear which proposals the White House might accept, but those backed by Republicans would block the government from carrying out regulations on greenhouse gases, putting in place a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and from shutting down mountaintop mines it believes will cause too much water pollution.
Sadly, I don't think progressives will find this news all that surprising. These days, from tax cuts for the wealthy to oil drilling, it seems like there's no issue on which the White House will stand up for what it believes in.

UPDATE 3/31 8:10am: In this morning's Environment & Energy Daily (sub. req.), Rep. Jim Moran asks the White House to take a stand:
The chief House Democratic appropriator for EPA and the Interior Department echoed environmentalists' wary response to the speech. It was up to Obama "and his speechwriters" to decide if EPA merited a mention yesterday, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia quipped before adding that calling the CR riders "totally unacceptable" should be a top priority.

"I hope he understands that promoting more energy -- even more sustainable forms of energy -- is not the same as protecting the environment in all cases," Moran said of Obama. "I just don't see any room for compromise on those riders, and I would hope that he would take a definitive position in that regard."
Sign the Sierra Club's petition asking the White House not to compromise away our clean air & water.

UPDATE 3/31 11:45am: According to Politico Pro (sub. req.), "A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment." Bye bye, environmental protections.
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