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11.5.04

Perhaps I Should Watch Out For Airborne Pork

EPA Issuing Tough New Diesel Rules

The Bush administration announced tough new rules yesterday to curb harmful emissions from off-road diesel-powered vehicles, pleasing environmentalists after brokering a compromise with industry on deadlines.

Off-road diesel-powered vehicles, such as bulldozers, tractors and irrigation equipment, are among the largest sources of pollutants that scientists have linked to premature deaths, lung cancer, asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses. The regulations, which Environmental Protection Agency director Mike Leavitt will sign today, would reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants from diesel engines by more than 90 percent over the next eight years.

... "It's remarkable that these strong rules come from the same administration that has otherwise turned back the clock on 30 years of environmental progress," said Emily Figdor, a clean-air advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "It's great to see science win out over the special interests for a change."

... "With an opportunity to score a slam-dunk, at the last minute the Bush administration committed an unnecessary foul," said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the Clean Air Trust. "It caved in behind closed doors to political pressure from oil companies and delayed cleanup for fuel used in marine and train engines."


I don't dispute that the rule contains concessions to industry, and I suppose it's necessary to be on record indicating that the final rule is not perfect. But this seems like a situation in which positive reinforcement combined with making the contrast with the usual conduct of this administration is key. Positive reinforcement emphasizes that environmentalists are not implacably opposed to whatever the administration does, while making the contrast helps to forestall using this policy to greenwash its overall record, stressing that the positive evaluation is policy-specific.

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