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