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President Obama angered environmentalists last week when he asked the EPA to stop development of tougher air quality rules. The Sierra Club’s Bruce Nilles joins us to discuss the reversal.

Guests:
Bruce Nilles, deputy conservation director, Sierra Club
Michael Wang, manager of cross regional issues and legal affairs for the Western States Petroleum Association

  • Robyn

    Is there going to be an online petition created to tell Obama we do not agree with his decision?

    • DanielDanielson

      Robyn,

      There is a message to Obama and the phone number to call at the NRDC web-site:
      http://www.nrdc.org/

      Calls to White House are registered, so not completely ineffective.

      I am sure there are e-mail petitions, as well. I am going to check out the Care2 web-page and inviting everyone to join that very environmentally concerned community.

  • Cute Little Lamb

    Let’s stop blaming government and as individuals start taking responsibility in our consumption and lifestyles!!!

    -EG, SF

    • DanielDanielson

      Like, for one, how? Even if you and me switch to hybrids or Tesla :), will it pursue a significant number of people you know to do that?

      Nothing or almost nothing that would lead to life-style changes happens until it is required by law. Unfortunately. Almost each one of us will think: “Eh-h … let them do that. What harm will it make if it is just little me driving my little clunker?”

      I applaud your sentiment but if we could take the responsibility – a statistically significant number of us, as a society …. that would be a completely different world. No eight years of Bush, for one.

  • Livegreen

    Your business guest says, and I paraphrase, “the environment and business go hand in hand” and “manufacturing companies will relocate to other countries”:
    –So why are manufacturers, retailers and environmentalists ALL preventing integration of environmental rules into international trade agreements?
    –Environmentalists are NOT significantly promoting U.S. made products that are more highly environmentally regulated.  

    But 1 example: cleaning all water output out of textile factories (U.S.) as opposed to just dumping them into rivers and ocean (China).  We then still get the pollution and still eat the mercury and toxin laden fish.

    Both business and environmentalists are not doing enough by just letting these pollutants move to other countries along with the jobs…

  • I believe Obama should spend his energy and commitment on creating a massive clean energy project, which would clean our air and provide jobs. Much like Kennedy’s commitment and I quote, “We choose to go to the moon and do other things not because they are easy but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept, we’re unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win…” How about We choose to clean our air and do whatever it takes not because it is easy but because we value life and it is the right thing to do.

    • Chemist150

      Actually, going to the moon was a national pride issue aimed at Russia and they continued kicked our butts in many ways in the “space race” while we went to the moon by being the first to establish a space station and many of them actually before we got around to trying it.

      In that sense, we got ahead of everyone and there is no one left to “race”.

      • My point is a big commitment can create big ideas that produce big results for the greatest good; the federal government has the power to help Americans breathe cleaner air by focusing on big clean energy and transportation projects. If only they’d set the priority.

  • Chemist150

    He continues to miss the obvious.

  • DanielDanielson

    I got here to comment on that same lame argument that Livegreen is pointing out.

    What a “crafty” way to put it: “the environment and economy should … did he say “go hand in hand”?” Anyway, when something like that comes up what are we remembering? The Gulf spill was the latest “hand in hand”. Appalachian mining and the associated environmental disasters. The Great Valley and hundreds of thousands of people with asthma, allergies, and other breathing issues. That iodo…something stuff they are going to use in strawberry growing  that causes miscarriages and perhaps something even worse than that. Each one of us can come up with a few examples..

    Let us face it. The environmental laws should be like a bar or a gate around a military installation. And armed guards. Otherwise, it is a Gulf of Mexico. There is too many interests involved.

    “Criminal law and economy should go hand in hand”, “Civil law and economy should go hand in hand”. How does that sound?
    There are things that should not go hand in hand, because that is the point – to have them as far apart as possible. No matter how attractive and lucrative would it seem to mix them together.

  • DanielDanielson

    And by the way, congratulations to the listener who called in and blamed the Sierra Club’s Bruce Nilles for having his “corporate” vested interest, or something like that.

    Yes, you could also blame firemen for having corporate interests in putting fires out or police for having corporate interest catching criminals. Yes, I suppose that is exactly that. Those corporations are there to do exactly that.

    Strangely, it did not come up, or I was not paying attention, that environmental scientists have their corporate interest in creating false theories and standards only to justify their salaries and be getting more research grant money.

    When I hear that sort of argument it always calls for a question. Why would they be coming up with false theories or standards? If standards are low or theories are such that play to the big money favor those scientists would still be there and be still getting their salaries. Why going in all that trouble if they could be doing fine with lower standards?

    Please … that works only with people who do not know much about science. It just does not work that way. There are established ways to verify the data and the results, peer reviews, etc. Trust me, I know – those peers are ruthless. 

    And if they caught you for intentional misinterpreting facts – there were a few examples in various fields of science – you are done as a scientist. It is way different from Wall Street, banking, and corporate. You screwed up big – got a bailout – got yourself a million bonus – set up a new bank – moved your headquarters to Caymans – “let my fellow citizens-taxpayers deal with the mess”.

  • Thermodynamicsftw

    Its disingenuous of the Sierra Club representative to claim to support ‘green’ or ‘renewable’ energy. Unless I’m mistaken, Sierra club has fought to keep the Mojave Desert and other areas off limits to solar power installations. If Sierra club wants to keep Solar off limits, how exactly do they purpose that we generate sufficient power? You can’t have it both ways, unless of course your real goal is to make energy scarce. As no one else wants that, their stance against solar, combined with others agitating against hydroelectric and nuclear ensure that coal and natural gas will continue to provide almost all of our power.

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