Air Commands


Nine states are challenging the Bush administration's new air pollution rules in federal court, arguing that they will increase pollution by allowing power plants to modernize without installing expensive emissions control equipment. The administration's response, as filtered through The New York Times: Will not! The story omits a crucial point that Gregg Easterbrook noted in The New Republic early last year: The Clean Air Act's "new source" requirements perversely encourage utilities to keep old, dirty plants online rather than switch to cleaner, more efficient equipment. In light of this fact, the burden of proof ought to be on the administration's critics to explain how relaxing these counterproductive rules will mean more pollution rather than less.