On Thursday the EPA issued new rules directing 200 counties in 20 states to reduce their levels of tiny pollution air particles emitted by power plants, automobiles and other sources by 2010. Eighty eight million people grouped mostly in urban areas have their health affected by this pollution. According to an EPA released fact sheet, “Scientific studies have found an association between exposure to particulate matter and significant health problems, including: aggravated asthma; chronic bronchitis; reduced lung function; irregular heartbeat; heart attack; and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.”

The EPA announced that the governors of the affected 20 states must submit clean up plans to them by February 2008, and designated high particulate areas must lower must lower their pollution to safe levels by 2010, but environmental groups like Clean Air Watch called the EPA’s new rules, “a dirty power industry protection plan.” They say this because the EPA rules gave the power companies an out. The EPA said that plants that are above acceptable emissions levels can purchase emissions credits through a cap and trade program.

The problem with a cap and trade system that doesn’t have a cap is fairly obvious. The reason why there is no cap is because the cap and trade system proposed by the White House doesn’t exist yet. It is still a proposal. The flaw in all cap and trade systems is that they do really do anything to clean up pollution. The biggest and wealthiest polluters can buy credits to cover their emissions. Thus, if they wanted to, they don’t have to use any pollution controls at all. A cap and trade system will lower overall national or state pollution levels, but it will leave trouble spots just as bad as or even worse than ever. No matter what political party you may favor, clean air is something we all need as human beings to survive, and proposing sham environmental rules is not going to solve the problem.

EPA Fact Sheet

Clean Air Watch Blog

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse blog radio

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