Quote of the Day: Crying Wolf Yet Again

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From David Roberts, who continues to have trouble generating the proper amount of cynicism in his daily life, on power industry opposition to new rules designed to reduce mercury emissions:

What is surprising — what continually surprises me, even as cynical as I’ve gotten — is how seriously polluters are taken in each successive episode of air pollution regulation. By now the script is numbingly predictable: industry commissions rigged studies showing that compliance will threaten power reliability and jack up costs; independent reports show otherwise; politicians from coal states uncritically echo the industry perspective; the media he-said she-saids; and finally, years later, the regs turn out to be cheaper and easier to comply with than anyone guessed. Every. Damn. Time.

It is, truly, amazing. When it comes to the cost of environmental rules, industry scaremongering is virtually always wrong. And not just a little wrong. A lot wrong. Yet serious people continue to stroke their chins and take their pseudo-studies seriously.

Anyway, read the whole thing. Mercury is a huge health hazard, the new EPA rules have been in the works for decades, and mitigation technology is available that works pretty well at a reasonable cost. The power industry really doesn’t have a leg to stand on here.

By the way, this is an example of what I was talking about the other day: if the nuclear industry ever hopes to be competitive with coal and gas-fired plants, then coal and gas-fired plants need to be forced to pay for their actual cost of operation, not just the part that doesn’t include killing thousands of people a year. These new rules are a good start.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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