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Romney's latest flip flop:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney opposes a landmark environmental regulation controlling mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants, according to a campaign statement to National Journal Daily Tuesday.

The campaign’s statement is a reversal from the position Romney held as Massachusetts governor and it offers a more stark condemnation of specific environmental regulations compared to what Romney himself has said on the campaign trail. It also shows that Romney is seeking to further distinguish himself from Obama on energy and environment issues.

Mercury is a poison that accumulates in the body of anyone or anything who consumes it (hence the bigger dangers in eating bigger fish), and coal plants produce about half the mercury pollution in the United States. In technical terms, it causes brain neuron degeneration: In nontechnical terms, the Mad Hatter was mad because 19th century English makers of hats had high levels of exposure to mercury.

Romney's claim isn't even based on reality. Michael Livermore at the Institute for Policy Integrity explains:

It is true that only a small percentage of the EPA’s estimated benefits from the mercury standards come from mercury reduction ($6 million in benefits out of a total of $90 billion). But that’s because the benefits from having less mercury in our water streams, oceans and, subsequently, the seafood we eat are extremely difficult to quantify.

In EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis, where the costs and benefits of the rule are weighed, the agency frankly recognizes that it “is nearly impossible to determine the source” of mercury in “commercially produced ocean fish” which make up a major component of American fish consumption.

Many times in the RIA, EPA states plainly that their numbers cannot come close to capturing what the standards will deliver. The agency says these risks are real, the correlation is clear, but the monetization is beyond its current abilities.

This is not fine print; it’s central to the analysis. Choosing to ignore these benefits, merely because they are not quantified discounts the huge range of health problems faced by mercury-exposed children.

And Romney's position is bad politics too: the public backs the EPA, not the GOP on mercury.

But, hey, mercury only poisons flesh-and-blood, not corporations. And poison helps the GOP's health care plan for ordinary Americans - die quickly.

The Senate is expected to vote today on James Inhofe's (R-OK) bill to block the EPA's regulation of mercury. If you're a human being, tell the Senate: the EPA should protect human health.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    Panelist, Netroots Nation 2012, "Coal and the Grassroots Fight for Environmental Justice." @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:06:11 AM PDT

  •  Mercury, Lead, Carbon...they're all "natural" (7+ / 0-)

    And it's proven truthiness that you can't have too much of something that occurs "naturally."

    Or something....

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:18:28 AM PDT

  •  Mercury poisoning=GOP voter. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    triciawyse, RLMiller

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:22:54 AM PDT

  •  Spread the word on mercury. Along with (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    triciawyse, jfromga, RLMiller

    climate change, mercury pollution is a huge reason the only clean coal is coal left in the ground.  

    Here's a link to a Sierra Club article about mercury in seafood.  After reading the article, I modified my diet.  I love Sea Bass, Halibut and Cod, but it has too much mercury to be eaten very often.  Good thing I also like Salmon and Shrimp, since they are low in mercury content.  (We don't eat beef or pork, so wild, sustainably caught seafood is a large part of our diet.)

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:34:28 AM PDT

    •  A veggie diet is low in mercury ... (3+ / 0-)

      The trend among affluent countries is to feed animal byproducts to poultry and ruminants (herbivores such as cows, sheep, and goats). These animals are used in milk production or are consumed as meat. Fishmeal is mainly used as feed for dairy cows (3). Fishmeal consumption results in an increase in milk production and stimulates an increase in docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids (4). Cow feed may also contain significant proportions of bone meal (5).
      Studies have shown that a primarily vegetarian diet results in decreased exposures to bioconcentrated environmental pollutants. Vegetarian mothers have been shown to secrete substantially fewer organochlorine substances in breast milk than do nonvegetarian mothers (6). Environmental estrogenic substances (polychlorinated biphenyls and phthalate esters) have been found in human serum in the following relative concentrations: urban fish eaters > rural fish eaters > urban vegetarians > rural vegetarians (7). Vegetarian vegans from Hong Kong who consumed no fish or shellfish were shown to have very low concentrations of hair mercury compared with nonvegetarians

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:31:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is good to know. We end up with vegetarian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        meals more often these days (and don't feel as though anything is missing).  At this point, I could easily eliminate chicken from my diet, but boy I love seafood.  I think that's why this whole coal thing has me so frustrated.  We are using less coal in this country, so coal companies want to export tens of millions of tons to Asia.  It's not hard to figure where mercury form burning that coal would end up.  Sadly it would be the Pacific Ocean, where most of the fish I eat originates.  I wonder if that makes me closer to a rural fish eater, though I live in a more urban environment?  

        It is sobering (but logical) how we are discovering that traces of the chemicals that have been part of our lives for so long are showing up in pretty much everything.  I've said (rather glibly) for years that we're not more than lab rats in a chemistry set.

        I also wonder if the fishmeal fed to dairy cattle has a significant mercury content.

        "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

        by Delta Overdue on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:01:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  hit them hard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller, Hopeful Skeptic

    on their pro-poison platform.


    What is more shameful than defending toxins and the suffering they cause?

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:25:06 AM PDT

  •  I think it would be fun (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to get a small amount of his hair and send it in for testing .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:34:12 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for noting... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hopeful Skeptic, RLMiller

    ...that all the benefits were not monetized.  That fact was conveniently ignored over and over by opponents of this rule.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your headline, btw. :-)

    “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

    by SolarMom on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:27:15 PM PDT

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