Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sulfur Is For Republicans Rotting In Hell, Not For Normal People Breathing Here On Earth


Friday morning we were wondering who would be picking up the tab for damage from earthquakes caused by fracking if Big Oil & Gas won't. Well, the same people who pick up the tab for all pollution caused in the pursuit of private profits-- the tax payers. So that same morning when I heard some GOP shill on the radio whining how forcing Big Oil to reduce sulfur emissions from their gasoline would increase the companies' costs, I couldn't help but think about the billions of dollars in healthcare costs from gasoline pollution and who pays those costs. The reason he was on the radio making a fuss-- aside from the payoffs he gets from his corporate lords-- is because the EPA just announced new rules for cleaner-burning fuel.
The proposed standards would add less than a penny a gallon to the cost of gasoline while delivering an environmental benefit akin to taking 33 million cars off the road, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made yet.

Oil industry officials, however, said the cost would be at least double the administration’s estimate and could add up to 9 cents a gallon in some places.

The proposed standards, which had been stuck in regulatory limbo since 2011, would reduce the amount of sulfur in U.S. gasoline by two-thirds and impose fleet-wide pollution limits on new vehicles by 2017.

The Obama administration’s decision to go ahead with the regulations deals a political blow to the oil and gas industry, which had mobilized dozens of lawmakers in recent days to lobby the White House for a one-year delay.

It also comes as the administration alarmed many environmentalists by weighing a delay in limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. Unlike the sulfur limits, the administration argued, the power plant limits could immediately hurt the struggling economy.

While gasoline sulfur itself does not pose a public health threat, it hampers the effectiveness of catalytic converters, which in turn leads to greater tailpipe emissions. These emissions-- nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and fine particles-- contribute to smog and soot, which can cause respiratory and heart disease.
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic polling firm, found in a survey for the American Lung Association in January that U.S. voters overwhelmingly support the EPA’s new gasoline and vehicle standards. Among the key findings from this research:

• The EPA remains much more popular than Congress, whose ratings continue to sink
• Voters rate clean air as a significantly higher priority than reducing regulations on businesses
• Voters across the country strongly believe that the EPA should be doing more, not less, to reduce air pollution
• An overwhelming 62 to 32 percent majority support the new gasoline and vehicle standards.
• This includes solid majorities of Democrats, independents and even moderate Republicans.

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