In a major new revision to its air pollution rules, the Environmental Protection Agency will allow up to 20 percent of the costs of replacing each plant's production system to be considered "routine maintenance" that doesn't require costly antipollution controls, according to agency documents obtained by The Associated Press......What's not being talked about? How about why companies have avoided upgrading their technology for 20+ years? Maybe inane regulations that discourage modernization and reward inefficiency? Are we really better off with these companies operating on decades old generators? And, if pollution increases from an individual plant when these repairs take place, are there corresponding increases in production? It might be that the ratio of pollution to production is not being changed much, or maybe even being improved. And, since Eno's already pointed out that pollution is just another cost that needs to be factored in, that ratio's what really counts. How much are we paying for power generation, beyond just dollar terms.
"It's an accounting gimmick that eliminates any possibility of pollution controls," said John Walke, director of Natural Resources Defense Council's clean air program. "It's a total disaster. It's the effective repeal of this clean air program, through illegal administrative means."
It's of course easier to demonize Bush and his cronies than to examine the issue in depth. I'll be interested in finding some actual answers to these and other questions.