Reading Governor Brewer’s statement regarding the federal government’s enforcement of the laws related to air pollution at the Grand Canyon left me both disappointed and hopeful. Quoted in the East Valley Tribune on July 29, 2012, Brewer stated “I don’t think it has anything to do with air quality … It has everything to do with the Obama administration going to war on coal … It’s more about politics and not science.” I was disappointed that the governor was blaming amendments made to the Clean Air Act in 1990 by the 101st Congress on our current president.
In 1989, President George H. W. Bush proposed changes to the Clean Air Act in an effort to reduce air pollution. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed amendments to the Clean Air Act. Included in those amendments was language that required reduction of air pollution at our national parks and language that allowed private legal action to force the federal government to act as the law required. Senator John McCain and Jon Kyle, who was in the House at the time, both voted in favor of the amendments. President Bush signed those amendments into law in 1990. The law is being enforced under the Obama administration due to legal action against the EPA for failure to act as the law requires.
At the same time, Governor Brewer’s statement encouraged me to think that the governor might start using science rather than politics in her future policy decision making.