Even the Bushies

EVEN THE BUSHIES…. When it comes to the Bush administration’s environmental policies, there’s a fairly predictable pattern — scientists will weigh in, career EPA employees will agree with them, and Bush’s political appointees will ignore all of them.

This one, though, is a little unusual.

The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new air-quality rules that would make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas, even though half of the EPA’s 10 regional administrators formally dissented from the decision and four others criticized the move in writing.

Documents obtained by The Washington Post show that the administration’s push to weaken Clean Air Act protections for “Class 1 areas” nationwide has sparked fierce resistance from senior agency officials. All but two of the regional administrators objecting to the proposed rule are political appointees.

Got that? Several regional EPA administrators are opposing Bush’s new air-quality rules for national parks and wilderness areas, despite having been appointed by Bush.

And how bad are the proposed rules? Pretty bad.

The proposal would change the practice of measuring pollution levels near national parks, which is currently done over three-hour and 24-hour increments to capture emission spikes during periods of peak energy demand; instead, the levels would be averaged over a year. Under this system, spikes in pollution would no longer violate the law.

Obama really will have a lot to do, won’t he?