The Edmond Sun

Opinion

May 9, 2014

San Jose Mercury News: EPA can legally fight climate change

SAN JOSE — The Supreme Court decision handing the Environmental Protection Agency an important clean air victory Tuesday was refreshing in every sense of the word.

The court’s 6-2 ruling upheld the EPA’s authority to limit power-plant emissions that blow across state lines. It’s a crucial step forward for President Barack Obama’s effort to improve the air quality of states downwind from polluting coal-fired plants.

Better still, the ruling sets the stage for the EPA’s new climate change regulations, which are expected to be released in June.

Critics argue that the rules will be just one more attempt to reduce the nation’s reliance on its 600 coal-fired power plants. They’re right. The sooner the better.

Power plants estimate the costs of implementing the EPA rule at about $800 million a year. But emissions from burning coal force states to spend tens of billions of dollars every year in health and environmental costs.

The court’s ruling, in effect, says power plants in 28 states in the East, Midwest and South have a responsibility to reduce the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution that goes into the air and drifts to other states.

Downwind cities and states have argued for years that pollution from coal-fired plants outside their jurisdictions has prevented them from meeting air pollution standards. The court validated this claim, laying to rest the contention that the EPA had placed an unfair economic burden on polluters.

Coal-fired plants are the single largest source of the nation’s carbon emissions, responsible for about 40 percent of the total.

The president ordered the EPA last year to issue new regulations to fight global warming this June. He has confidence that this nation’s innovators can find ways to make cleaner, renewable sources of energy more practical and affordable, and so do we. The Supreme Court ruling provides the legal backing needed to move forward.

The EPA is expected to direct states to craft their own plans for meeting clean air standards. That could include reducing energy demand by requiring greener buildings and implementing more cap and trade programs like California’s. And thanks to the court, the EPA and downwind states will have leverage to force power plants to take responsibility for their emissions.

President Obama recognizes the obligation to fight global warming for the sake of future generations — and perhaps even our own: The latest peril disclosed this week is growing acidity in the world’s oceans, harming sea creatures in a food chain.

The fear has been that a divided Congress and a right-leaning Supreme Court would prevent the president and the EPA from acting to curb pollution. The court laid that notion to rest Tuesday. Now it’s up to the EPA to set effective regulations that spur innovation to meet our energy needs without destroying our world.

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Opinion
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results