Friday, April 22, 2005
Earth Day 2005 (Photo of the Week)
What is unusual is that President Bush will be paying the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a visit on Friday -- for Earth Day.
It's hard to miss the irony here. One of the Bush administration's biggest legislative priorities has been to rewrite the Clean Air Act to allow twice as much soot and smog pollution than strong enforcement of the current law. The administration's plan would even strip the right of states to force upwind sources of pollution to clean up their act. In fact, North Carolina has invoked that right to address the smog problem in the Smoky Mountains.
Because of its position downwind from coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities, the Smokies' air pollution levels rival those of urban areas, at times exceeding levels in Washington, DC and New York City. This contamination brings haze, ozone, acid rain and mercury pollution. You'd think such an alarming situation in America's most visited national park would move the Bush administration to protect our air quality. That's clearly not happening. We need strong enforcement of the Clean Air Act to achieve the clean air standards that Americans want and deserve.
Area meteorologists are predicting rain today, which should wash out the smog in the Smokies for the time being. So the presidential party should get their photo opportunity with a clear view.
We fully expect that the picture, like the Bush administration's dirty air plan, will take our breath away.