WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate’s environment committee is drafting legislation that would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend any anti-pollution regulations for 120 days to help in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.After all, Oklahoma didn't get flooded, right? And rules just get in the way of recovery, don't they?
The EPA’s chief briefed Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and his colleagues on Wednesday. Stephen Johnson told senators he was not aware of anything he needed at this point, committee spokesman Bill Holbrook said Thursday.
Let's see: lower pay for construction and other workers on gov't contracts, but no-bid contracts are being let. No questions asked if you hire illegal aliens, but if the employees don't know that, you can screw them blind and make even more money. And all that business about pollution controls? Screw that!
Yeah, this is shaping up nicely. It will be opposed, of course. But remember: the Devil is in the details.
Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., said he opposed a blanket waiver of environmental laws.
“If adopted, this waiver could undermine public health protections. We should be focusing our energy on protecting the health and safety of people impacted by this hurricane, not paving the way for environmental abuse,” Jeffords said.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., also said he would fight Inhofe’s “sweeping, unnecessary and ill-conceived” plan, and any attempt to attach it to a bill authorizing relief from Katrina. He said it could allow EPA to put off telling Congress of any waivers for up to two weeks afterward. A provision also says the EPA can seek an extension to continue issuing waivers after the 120 days laid out in the bill.