Mitt Romney finds himself once again in an awkward presidential politics bind, this time regarding recently-finalized regulations to limit mercury and other air pollution from coal plants. Polling indicates the plan has strong public support. Meanwhile, most of Romney’s fellow Republicans in Congress are opposed. Clearly, this is one for Romney’s verbal gymnastics team.
The National Journal, which is all over this story, reports:
“Governor Romney has made clear that he opposes the Utility MACT, which costs more than $1,500 for every one dollar reduction in mercury pollution,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement. “President Obama cannot claim to support clean coal while imposing regulations that his EPA admits would prevent another coal plant from ever being built.”
First of all, dollars aren’t the standard units for measuring mercury pollution. Second, that’s a not-so-sly abuse of the phrase “clean coal.” Obama is not “claiming to support clean coal” in this case. These regulations aim to make the current reality less dirty. Clean coal is a massively uncertain aspiration. Let’s keep that straight.