MOUSE, you seem to know something about this so perhaps you (or anyone knowledgeable, of course) can help me.
It is my understanding that what is at issue is the repeal of the "New Source Review" clause of the Clean Air act of 1977. I could not find the full text of that clause, but I found an interpretation of it at The Heritage Foundation.
I know, the Heritage Foundation; but lefties, hear me out on this one before you throw the tomatoes.
The Heritage Foundation claims:
NSR was enacted in 1977 under the Clean Air Act to control air pollutants from newly built or reconstructed industrial facilities, including electric utilities, oil refineries, paper mills, and steel mills.
The also add
Under the Clinton Administration, however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a new and extreme interpretation of the law, imposing NSR rules on modifications made by existing plants even if the changes actually decrease emissions, improve energy efficiency, or increase the safety of operations. Under this new application, companies would have little incentive to upgrade and modernize their plants or even make routine changes and repairs.
My confusion lies in the fact that I don't know if the Bush administration ordered the repeal of the entire clause or just the Clinton modifications of 1997.
I am bothered by the idea of the repeal either way, I suppose. The power companies in question had anywhere from 5 to 25 years to plan and prepare for these changes. It's a bit irresponsible for them to act like they didn't know it was coming.
This is where the democrats really show their weakness. According to CNN
, "Electric companies and their employees contributed at least $11 million to the GOP in the 2001-02 election cycle" with coal companies contributing, "at least $1.9 million in political contributions in that period." I'm really surprised the left hasn't picked this one up and run with it.
It could be so easy for the democrats to spin that the power companies are getting a little quid pro quo for their election campaign donations. Yet, they haven't; wonder what gives?