Friday, April 17, 2009

New administration frees scientists from doghouse

The significance of Friday's announcement that U.S. environmental regulators have officially determined that air pollutants blamed for global warming pose significant health hazards to people is not only that emissions can be regulated, but that government officials are again listening to scientists. Finally, a scientific approach to problems -- far superior to the 'faith-based' approach of President Barak Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush. The Environmental Protection Agency, which made the announcement, did not just find out about heat-trapping gases -- they've understood that for years, as have many of us. But irresponsible leaders of the last administration obviously muzzled regulators to reward corporate campaign contributors who will have to pay for compliance with new regulations. "This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a news release, according to Cable News Network (CNN). "The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate." Jackson was nominated by Obama and confirmed by Congress in January. Reuters said environmentalists applauded the EPA announcement. "Global warming threatens our health, our economy, and our children's prosperity," said Vickie Patton, deputy general counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund. "EPA's action is a wake-up call for national policy solutions that secure our economic and environmental future." But Republicans in Congress condemned the decision, saying it would lead to an increased in government regulations. "Today's action by the EPA is the beginning of a regulatory barrage that will destroy jobs, raise energy prices for consumers and undermine America's global competitiveness," said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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