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Obama's environmental speech

The TPM headline on Obama's big environmental speech yesterday was "Keystone Pipeline Will Only Be Built If It Does Not 'Significantly' Increase Carbon Pollution" to which Atrios responded that that's a low bar considering the State Department has already ruled that it doesn't. The other news was that we're going to fight global warming by fracking, which puts the story that the EPA stopped a study on the environmental damages caused by fracking in a new light.

But Al Gore and ThinkProgress seem pretty pleased with the speech so obviously i'm being too cynical. On the other hand, ThinkProgress' optimism is based on a crytpo-lingo analysis (he said "tar-sands" instead of "oil-sands"!) so maybe i was right the first time.

In any event, at the risk of sounding like Charlie Brown with the football, one promising aspect of the speech was Obama saying:

So today for the sake of our children and the health and safety of all Americans, I'm directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.

As Obama mentions in the speech the EPA is required by law to do this per a 2006 Supreme Court ruling, but both the Bush and Obama administrations dragged their feet on this. I've been on this soap box before. And if this is really happening (all i can find are reports on the speech; no telling how far along this actually is), better late than never.

But i'll always remember that on Bill Clinton's last day in office, he had the EPA raise the standards for arsenic in our drinking water. And then on the first day of Bush's term, he reversed that order. And all the Democrat organizations sent out these messages like "Bush is allowing arsenic in our drinking water!"

This obviously isn't the last day of Obama's administration, but i'm wondering if we're far away from actually implementing anything that it will still be reversible in 3 years. If requirements go into effect sooner rather than later, factories will already have implemented the necessary technological changes and a reversal of the order will have less impact. But they will drag their feet on this as much as possible in hopes of a Republican getting elected in 2016. That's why the Obama administration should have been ready with rules for the EPA to implement on day one in 2008. Still, even at this late date it would be nice to see some progress.

P.S. Paul Krugman addresses the "this will cost us jobs" complaint. He says it's actually the opposite.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2013, 9:16 AM | Liberal Outrage