WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday scrapped his administration’s controversial plans to tighten smog rules, bowing to the demands of congressional Republicans and some business leaders.
Obama overruled the Environmental Protection Agency — and the unanimous opinion of its independent panel of scientific advisers — and directed administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw the proposed regulation to reduce concentrations of ground-level ozone, smog’s main ingredient. The decision rests in part on reducing regulatory burdens and uncertainty for businesses at a time of rampant uncertainty about an unsteady economy.
The announcement came shortly after a new government report on private sector employment showed that businesses essentially added no new jobs last month — and that the jobless rate remained stuck at a historically high 9.1 percent. LINK
Normally this is a story most of us would gloss right over on the way to reading something a little more “stimulating” like Support Your Local Gunfighter. However it caught my eye because in the big scheme of things I am acutely aware of just how the EPA and their never-ending, ever-expanding quest to regulate everything impacts my life, my profession and the finances of cities like Philadelphia.
My fire truck recently had to go to the shop for repairs. As a front line apparatus it takes its share of beatings. The truck is a 1998 American LaFrance. That means its been in service for about 13 years. It’s a pretty good truck and the guys like it. While it was down we had to use a reserve truck. That truck was a 21-year-old Seagrave. That truck shouldn’t be on the street never mind used for emergencies.
Now I have been told (from reliable sources) that we are due to receive a new truck sometime in the not too distant future. Starting this January the department will be taking receipt of four new engines a month for a total of twenty. Two new ladder trucks are in the mix. The price tag for the new ladders: $850,000.00 Thats right- three-quarters of a million dollars. Here’s the kicker- about $100,000.00 of that cost is due to EPA regulations. EPA regulations have done a lot to destroy firefighting training, restricting live burns into extinction. Now they are impacting the trucks we use. I feel for the farmers.
The EPA’s never-ending rule making has impacted the manufacture of fire trucks adding millions of dollars in costs to purchase prices that cities and towns end up having to pay for. That means tax payers are directly impacted by these rules since taxes are often raised to cover these spiraling costs. The cost increases are mainly due to required diesel emission equipment that the trucks must now have. As a result of these rules the trucks are now getting even bigger to accommodate the design changes. That means municipalities are scrambling to cut costs. To do this essential fire fighting features like deck guns and front suctions are being scrapped. We are in the era of “no frills” firetrucks. Like everything else, you get what you pay for. The new trucks are terrible. That makes a difficult job that much harder. Thanks EPA.
Back to my not green fire truck tonight.