Back in January, still licking his wounds from the midterm elections, President Obama told government agencies to give economic growth more weight when issuing new regulations and to nix any old ones that "stifle job creation or make our economy less competitive." In practical (and less varnished) terms, says an editorial in the LA Times, what Obama really meant is this: "the environment and public health will be thrown under a bus for the sake of his reelection."
A couple of examples:
• The Environmental Protection Agency, citing Obama's order, indefinitely rescinded a rule to limit emissions from industrial boilers, which power oil refineries, chemical plants and other factories. EPA claimed it hadn't had time to size up industry claims that the rule would harm them - though the agency has been at work on this since 2004.
• The agency also slow-tracked new rules on storing toxic coal ash, notwithstanding EPA chief Lisa Jackson's vow to clamp down following a disastrous Tennessee spill in 2008.
Obama no doubt figures to pick up some independent voters by going easy on smokestack industries. Makes sense. But, says the LAT, he might want to consider this: "It's possible for a president to so alienate his base that it fails to show up on election day."
'In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists don't matter' [Los Angeles Times]