Whitehouse, Other Liberals Press Obama on Environment

The Obama Administration dealt environmentalists a major blow last week when it announced it was blocking an important new air pollution rule that had come under fire from Republicans and business interests.

The administration said the nation couldn't afford the rule, which would lead to significant new costs for business, in tough economic times.

Liberal senators, including Rhode Island's Sheldon Whitehouse, are now voicing their displeasure and urging the administration to hold the line on other environmental rules. From Washington insider publication The Hill:

“I hope that they will hold the line, but if they are willing to give up on ozone, where the science is really clear, it is hard to see what the distinction is with others,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

He said White House staff told him last week beforehand about their decision to abandon rules that would toughen Bush-era smog standards, which the administration now plans to reconsider in 2013.
Whitehouse said he used the call to make the case for other protections.

“I did urge them to continue to protect the environmental authorities of [the Environmental Protection Agency],” he said Tuesday evening in the Capitol.

The EPA is preparing to issue rules on air toxics from power plants and industrial boilers, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental regulations that are also opposed by many Republicans.

House Republicans are also seeking to delay recently finalized EPA rules to curb power plant sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions that blow across state lines.

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