To the Editor:
The Clean Air Act saves lives. Since it was first enacted in 1970, the Clean Air Act has succeeded in cutting unhealthy levels of air pollution throughout the country, and has done so at a reasonable cost.
Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is updating regulations under the Clean Air Act to control toxic air pollutants, curb emissions from big power plants, and limit the pollutants that are causing global climate change. Unfortunately, special interests and their allies in Congress are trying to curtail EPA’s authority and sidetrack these new rules.
This is a critical public health and environmental issue. However, it is also a good government issue. In passing the Clean Air Act, Congress recognized that it’s poorly equipped to make specific technical and scientific determinations. Therefore, Congress set overall goals, including protecting public health, and EPA was delegated responsibility to work with the best scientists and engineers in reviewing scientific data, monitoring industrial processes, and developing appropriate controls. Bypassing this process and letting Congress second-guess specific regulations at the behest of special interest lobbyists is simply bad government. It substitutes raw politics for scientific expertise.
The League of Women Voters believes that new clean air regulations are needed to protect our health and our environment. Toxic air pollution and global climate change must be addressed. And the League believes that Congress should not yield to special interests and undermine EPA. Scientific and technological decisions must be based on knowledge and expertise rather than raw politics.
Marguerite Renaud, member of League of Women Voters