Notes: "The Bush Administration finalized an overhaul of its clean air rules today, allowing owners of old power plants and refineries to modernize their facilities without installing costly pollution-cutting equipment," according to a report by Eric Berger on August 27, in the Houston Chronicle. "Under the old rule, operators were required to improve pollution control as part of any major upgrade other than routine maintenance," Berger also writes.

"The decision, which came in response to years of pressure from industry, allows a utility, refinery, manufacturing plant or other large industrial facility to spend up to 20% of the costs to replace a major component of its plant on repairs without triggering the 'new source review' provision of the act," writes Elizabeth Shogren on August 27, in the Los Angeles Times. She continues, "Bush administration officials said that the change would make it easier for industries to determine when they must install pollution control devices when upgrading facilities.

"But environmentalist such as Tom 'Smitty' Smith, director of Public Citizen's Texas office, say the 20 percent rule is simply a loophole for chemical and energy companies to replace their facilities over time without regard to pollution control," reports Berger in the Houston Chronicle Other "environmentalists said that the change would make it much easier for plants to increase emissions and could have devastating impacts on health and the environment, causing more asthma and premature death and clogging both cities and national parks with smog," related Berger in the Los Angeles Times.

Berger also noted that "[o]bjective, non-partisan groups that have studied the new source review program said that the change defies the Clean Air Act's strategy for older plants: Although it did not immediately require them to install pollution control devices, it did want them to clean up later.

Consider this the next time you see George W. Bush in a staged, photo-op in a beautiful natural setting
. 08.31.03