Fatal Birth Defects Possible, Court Blocked EPA Air Pollution Rule

God forbid we want our children to breathe clean air! I know a young woman whose mother worked at a plant that used mercury before its dreadful effects were recognized. When the woman’s baby was born, the infant was missing her left arm from the elbow down.

Image what that would be like.

Severe To Fatal Birth Defects. http://babycharlotte.co.nz  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Cleverley-Bisman#/media/File:Charlotte_Cleverley-Bisman.jpg

Today the Supreme Court struck down one of the Obama administration?s most important environmental regulations. The rule forced “coal- and oil-fired power plants“?to keep a reasonable limit on the amount of mercury and other toxic air pollutants they released into the air.

After a decade of struggling, this April the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first-ever limits on mercury and other toxins started to take effect. Environmental groups said that?4,200 to 11,000 lives could be saved?each year.

Well, not now. The Supreme Court struck it down.

Mercury Effects

You see, Mercury emissions are especially nasty. Mercury effects:

  • Thinking
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Language
  • Fine motor skills and
  • Visual spatial skills

Lead’s Fatal Birth Defects

And too much lead in the toxic emissions?can cause fatal birth defects including miscarriages. In children, we know that it causes:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Behavioral problems
  • Anemia
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Hyperactivity
  • Developmental delays
  • In extreme cases, death

Money Men?s Stand

We knew it was all about money; industry lobby groups and Republican-led states are concerned about the costs of limiting air emissions from power plants.

The money men followed the traditional Republican plan of pecking at a law again and again until they find the perfect vulnerable spot, then they go in for the kill. This time they hit upon three special words: ?appropriate and necessary?.

The Supreme Court majority says that the EPA should have considered the costs for plants to take ?appropriate and necessary? action to regulate power plants. Also that ?appropriate? action needed to include cost estimates in relation to supposed benefits.

Scalia?s Win

The justices rule in a 5-4 decision against the EPA. ?Justice Antonin Scalia wrotethe decision,

“One would not say that it is even rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits. No regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

Kagan?s Dissent

Justice?Elena Kagan wrote?the in her dissenting decision,

“[this decision] … deprives the agency [EPA] of the latitude Congress gave it to design an emissions-setting process sensibly accounting for costs and benefits alike.”

How low can the industrial rulers go? I guess we know now.

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About Gloria Christie

Gloria Christie founded Gloria Christie Reports, a common sense column about liberal politics. She wrote for Addictinginfo.org, the Kansas City Star, Where High Technology Meets Politics for London’s IDG-Connect Blog and The Best Times. Her total readership is over 5 million. Christie has an MS in radio-TV-film and an MPA in business/government relations. She was a systemic problems consulting expert for Fortune 100/500 businesses here and off-shore. Christie invented and implemented the first computerized patient chart. She also worked on Howard Dean’s, John Kerry’s, and Barak Obama’s presidential campaigns. She is particularly interested in liberal politics, high-tech, complex systems, and change. Like her Facebook page, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter.Click here to buy Gloria Christie a vodka martini.