Cap ‘n’ Trade Cut ‘n’ Paste
If new rules proposed by the Bush administration to cut power-plant mercury emissions sound like they were written by industry lobbyists, it’s only because, well, they kinda were. The proposal, released by the U.S. EPA on Friday for a 60-day public comment period, contains at least 12 paragraphs lifted almost verbatim from memorandums sent to the EPA by Latham & Watkins, a top Washington corporate environmental law firm. EPA spokespersons dismissed the plagiarism as an innocent interagency mix-up; the writer of the L&W memos called it “gratifying.” Enviros criticized the EPA proposal, which would put in place a cap-and-trade system that would let plants buy and sell mercury pollution credits and would not require plants to use the best available technology to clean up their emissions. The EPA claims the new program will reduce mercury emissions by nearly 70 percent by 2018; until then, you best hope you live near plants that are selling rather than buying the right to pollute.