CLEAN AIR FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE….California has always had authority under the Clean Air Act to approve tougher pollution regulations than the feds. Why? Because we have really crappy air quality here.

In fact, after years of improvement, air quality here in the LA basin has been getting a bit worse recently, and we’re running out of ideas about how to meet a 2010 federal deadline to cut smog to safe levels. Today, Senate Republicans decided that our latest effort to reduce smog should be overturned:

Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), the measure’s sponsor, argued that California’s regulation would drive 22,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs abroad.

“Today’s passage of my job protection amendment is a victory for the thousands of families in Missouri, and across the nation, whose jobs were threatened by California’s attempt to force-feed the nation dangerous new regulations without concern for job loss or safety,” Bond said.

This is the oldest trick in the book. Large corporations have cried wolf over virtually every environmental regulation ever proposed, and the threat of closing factories is their favorite scare tactic. Never mind that these regulations almost always turn out to be eminently achievable; time after time Republicans obediently roll over and accept their carefully formatted but entirely invented “study results” ? this time from Briggs & Stratton ?without question.

The transparency is galling. Conservatives like to say that of course they care about the environment, and the only thing they object to is loony stuff like halting major development projects because of danger to some insignificant subspecies that no one cares about.

Well, this isn’t loony, it’s just a plain and simple attempt to solve the worst air pollution problem in the country. If Republicans actually cared about this stuff, instead of just pretending that they do, they’d be helping us out, not putting absurd roadblocks in our way based on wholly unsupported claims of distress from big donors in key states. They should be ashamed.

(And by the way, the same goes for liberal Democrats like Herbert Kohl (D-Wis.), who joined with Bond in weak kneed acquiesence to Briggs & Stratton’s extortionate report.)

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