tv Washington Journal CSPAN August 21, 2014 8:30am-9:31am EDT
in these entering suburbs. there are policy and zoning and land use mechanisms you could put in place to try and encourage the creation of more mixed income, stable communities so we don't see the sort of tipping and increase entrenched poverty. host: talk about the impact of suburban policy, looking at ferguson but we appreciate your calls as well, 202-585-3880. for those in the eastern and central time zones 585-3881 and in the mountain and pacific time zones, we appreciate you holding on, especially gary, connorsville, illinois, thanks for holding on. good morning. caller: i just want to point something out here that's real important. i think it gets overlooked quite a bit. and the fact that a lot of people aren't born with the same intellectual skill set, like when i was in school, those guys are barely cracking books and bringing straight a's
and other guys struggling to et a c-plus and was lucky. that's why they give the test in school. that's something congress has a tendency to overlook or don't care about, either one. . so there's a place for everybody in our job market, every level, and that needs to be more respected and taken into consideration. and the last thing i want to say is i appreciate c-span and thanks for taking my call. host: educational attainment. guest: the increased interest and commitment to early childhood education as part of this discussion is so important because the ability to make sure that kids get to school, ready to learn, we know that that has really strong returns to their outcomes in the long run and can improve educational attainment and career outcomes in earnings over the long run.
so you can't talk enough about investing in early childhood from birthday. a lot of the interesting, collective impact models to education to improve, to decrease gaps in attainment across race, ethnicity, income, to approve educational attainment careers and pathways starts from the cradle to career perspective that you can't start early enough in making sure that kids are getting the sort of skills and supports they need to equip them to be successful. . host: you're on from the brookings institution with elizabeth kneebone. caller: thanks very much. i had a couple ideas for a while and am wondering, some of these groups that go marching are talking about ghetto areas
probably to start with and you and hese guys marching the a.c.p. and some of those groups, why don't they formulate a march into these neighborhoods with paint cans and paintbrushes and people that can do small repairs and clean up the yards and give these people a little lift instead of this constant grinding away about racism? i bet you'd find just as many white people there with paintbrushes as you would black people. this race thing is killing our country. guest: i think one of the challenges with rapid growth of poverty in suburbs and with the emergence of concentrated poverty in ferguson and other suburbs is again, it gets back to the lack of capacity in
infrastructure, following the war on poverty in urban communities, there was a real effort, a real grassroots effort to create community organizations, community leadership and networks. there was a voice and participation of community residents in the political process, in improving their neighborhoods and outcomes. . and there's not the same infrastructure or history in the suburbs. and we've seen ferguson and other communities dealing with these tensions, it underscores the importance of creating those grassroots movements, those connections within the communities so that you're strengthening and building community networks and giving a voice and pathway to leadership for the community residents so we can start changing that lag in the political leadership structure we're seeing in so many of these communities. host: if we're seeing these trends, what does it mean for the federal government when it comes to anti-poverty programs? guest: for one, clearly with
the level of need we're seeing today, there is such an ongoing need for the safety net which is often in discussions being cut or further curtailed, things like food stamps, earned income credit, programs that make a difference, it's important to support those programs. but we think more broadly about anti-poverty policy, being able to do so through this lens of place is so important because just a federal blanket sort of policy doesn't really capture the experience of different places. so many of these communities are coming from a different starting point to begin with in terms of level of capacity or resources or ability to connect their residents and communities to economic opportunity and pathways out of poverty. so again, a successful policy is one that's going to recognize those different starting points and be able to tailor effectively to the host: representative paul ryan has a book nfment a recent op
ed he said this. today we're spending almost 800 billion on 92 anti-poverty rograms. guest: well, that observation about how fragmented the federal system is is very true and as we've been doing work across the country a big barrier to them more effectively address the issues is the fact that we have this inflexible system that in many ways was designed for you're bab poverty. so i think that observation is absolutely correct but in paul ryan's recommendations and how he actually goes about suggesting we address these issues he doesn't say anything
about police. host: consolidating some of the programs. guest: sort of bringing u programs together like housing vouchers, like the snap food stamps program block granting that essentially. host: what's wrong with that approach? guest: there's a couple things. one, block granting in a way he says they won't be cutting any of the funds going to these programs. but something like food stamps and the snap program is so effective because it can respond to changes in the economy. we saw food stamp receipt increase because there was a growing need and it tends to again taper off as the economy gets stronger. so that is what is so important to how that program is effective. when you block grant a program you remove its ability to respond. so quickly and so adequately to these issues. there are also concerns, too, that as he's talking about allowing more flexibility at the state level he doesn't
bring in the lens of place. he for instance in this we're block granting the programs we want to make sure there's flexibility and he makes sure that each family would have a case worker who would be able to help them navigate these programs and come up with a plan. for one -- and they would be tied to things to work requirements and other measures. the reason why it would be important to inject place into that is your job prospects in fresno are very different than in san francisco. not even within the same state different communities have different labor markets.
the other place talking about this case worker that assumes the presence of a safety net across different kinds of communities which we know is not evenly distributed the superben safety net tends to be much patchier. under resourced, much smaller. so the idea that you could even present that sort of hands-on approach, whether or not we agree that's the right approach to take, even the ability to implement something like that is very questionable if you don't think about the place and if we're going to have a budget neutral proposal the cost of creating that would necessitate cutting in to the very programs that we're talking about trying to provide. host: patty from new york. caller: hello. poor people of lower middle education make up the largest
portion of this country's population. quality education fosh people of lower middle education, help them if the jobs would pay them 670 or more per hour. - 60 or more per hour. guest: so i think that's -- so education is clearly a very important piece of this puzzle that even -- there are regions where there are good-paying jobs that don't require a four-year degree but they're having filling those positions. and that suggests that there's a mismatch between the skills training in the lower income workforce and those job openings. that suggests ra policy fix that there's an opportunity for training for human capital development so residents can connect to the good-paying jobs. but it does require a quality education and the type of skills and certifications
necessary and the pipeline will lead to that job so making ktions across the sectors. in other places as we're trying to attract those better paying jobs and build up those jobs base again if there is a quality education system in place and an opportunity to create more trained and skilled workers that makes those sorts of communities more attractive to those employers looking for a place within that region. so the education human capital and skills training piece can't be swrurned estimated and the ability to create jobs that pay and the workforce to connect to those jobs. host: from florida. caller: good morning. i don't understand why the problem of equating poverty with this is ever addressed.
when the housing units are built for these people they are not slums and in a very short ime they seem to be destruct -- destroyed. all of the solutions that would help these people are available. many live in poverty don't want to take advantage of them. they just can't be bothered. many of the children who go to school without breakfast it's not because they're poor, it's because there's nobody there to take care of them. i think those are things we should look at. i grew up in a neighborhood that was adjacent to what is now the south bronx and people who lived in those tenments did not make slums out of them. they worked to move out of them. everyone i knew their father
had a second jobs, my father had a second part-time job, because they wanted to work their way up to a better way of living. guest: actually when we look at the poor population today the majority of poor people are working or in a family that's working so we're really talking about the working poor. it does come back to this issue what kinds of jobs are actually available. can they be the kinds of employment opportunities that allow for a stable environment. we were talking about the instability in the low income community. i think you see that more broadly when you don't have a stable housing situation or you are forced to move often because of economic circumstances it can make all these things that much harder connecting to a job holding steady employment educational success for your kids if they have too f to move schools. all these sort of -- it's not
one thing. there's usually compouppeded multilayered set of challenges that are facing these families and residents. layer on to that these communities if you have absentee landlords the issue of not enforcing housing codes or keeping up properties complicates that ability to invest and make sure we are creating healthy stable housing environments. host: what has to happen to reverse these trends? guest: the facts we're seeing this regional shift, this growth that obviously poverty is still a concern in major cities, but increasingly suburbs are addressing these same challenges ad-- shows the need for a more regional solution. our labor markets operate at the regional level. so it becomes about understanding how we make decisions around affordable housing, public transportation, how we invest in transit
infrastructure, job attraction and retention strategies, workforce development. these get made in policy silos but it's so important to integrate them because of the impact they have on one another determine the access. so when you have concentrated pockets of poverty if we ignore this emerging trend within suburbs you do run the risk of creating the same kinds of eeb trenched challenges that exist in cities. instead, we should be thinking about ways to create connections and pathways from those communities to better education opportunities to better job opportunities in the region. so we're creating more areas of opportunity, more mixed income type of communities that are stable and offer economic opportunities.
host: up next a look at the clean air act. >> from poverty to the racial composition of government workers, nate silver of the 538 on line site report that is in about two thirds of u.s. cities with the largest police forces the majority of police officers commute to work from another town. this statistic is tied to the diversity of the police force. black and hispanic officers are considerably more likely to reside in the cities than white ones. in new york frem 62% resides within the five boroughs but there's a racial divide.
data coming frol the equal opportunity commission also the census bureau together provide detail on the racial composition of government workers in large american cities. an update on gay marriage in the state of virginia. the supreme court granted a request to delay enforcement of a lower court ruling that overturned virginia's same sex marriage ban that means gay and lesbian couples cannot legally wed for now. the richmond-based court of appeals struck down the voter approved van last month and the high court in coming weeks will announce whether it will have the final word and accept pending petitions.
"washington journal" continues. host: all week we've been looking at president johnson's efforts on his great society talking about different elements. today a discussion about the environment, talking about air quality. two guests. we're joined by rob, with george washington university environmental law professor. also jeff former e.p.a. assistant administrator for air and radiation from 2001 to 2005. good morning. let me start by reading a little bit of president johnson and what he talked about when it comes dot environment and ssues we'll be discussing.
what do you think about that statement? guest: i think lyndon johnson was a visionary in some ways. he was the first president to articulate an environmental program that didn't just focus on a traditional conservation, the kind that teddy roosevelt might have endorsed. e focused also on rest ration, innovation, how are we going to improve these resources rather than just preserve resources that have -- that are still pristine. host: so as mr. homestead what about his statement and to you has that beard itself out?
guest: i think in many ways it has. he of course was prior to his times back in the late 60s is when i think the public at large began to be concerned about air pollution. it had long been a problem in southern california but it was an increasing problem in other parts and i think he responded to that kind of public pressure. i think clearly the clean air act that had kind of its initial beginnings in the johnson administration has been a very important part of protecting public health and the environment. host: has the clean air act that we initially saw under president johnson the same as we see today? guest: no. the 67 act which is referred to as the air quality act, introduced a few concepts that continue to be in place. the idea that there would be specific areas of the country where there would be the need
to have a coordinated program. and that really comes from 67. and 67 also was the first time that the federal government was authorized to set tail pipe standards for automobiles. they never actually did that because the 67 act was super seeded in 197 o 0 but those two ideas have now continued to be part of the modern act. host: was the goal of the 67 act ongoing to reduce it the amount of stuff in the air that we find is that too sim is police tick? guest: the 67 act really focused on what is in the air now and that was one of the important things that it actually did. let's measure. let's see what the problem is so we then can think about how to reduce it. the other thing the 67 act did that i think we still see in our programs and policies today is establish the state federal partnership where the states have a role in enforcement that is overseen by the federal government. that relationship and that
programic approach began in the 67 act. host: so what kind of stuff are we looking for at the time were we looking at the air to reduce? guest: the 67 act was like much it lation the impetus for was some smoy smog events, some instances both in london and new york where people died as a result of poor quality air. ozone is a major component of you are ban smog so that was something -- bshbshoiben smog. so they began to focus on. not in the 67 act but in the 1970 clean air act which really provides the structure and continues to provide the structure for much of our clean air act regulation today did focus on some of those what are called criteria pollutants
major pollutants. host: such as? guest: ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen ox yides, particulates. carbon monoxide, hired carbons were originally in the act but then subsequently it was found that hide row carbons were adequately regulated by ozone and led was added to the list of criteria pollutants. host: so as this became an effort by the federal and state to do this, what did the federal do? what did the federal impose? what did the state impose? guest: well, let me first correct something. back in 67 there was no e.p.a. guest: that's true. guest: it was created under president nixon so in those days it was health education and welfare. and looking back it's surprising how little we knew about this pollution not only
what the health effects might be but what was being emitt what the concentrations in the air were. so the 67 act more than anything created research programs and for the first time had people going out and establishing these monitors. the effort to really go after these so-called criteria pollutants that robin mentioned really comes from the 70 act. guest: right. guest: so back in 67 they knew there was a smog event people could see, people would cough. but exactly what contributed to that smog was we were just beginning to understand that. host: so the 70 act gave the effort teeth, so to speak. guest: yes. it certainly increased the kind of regulatory programs that the federal government could impose. in 67 the only regulations that the federal government that hew would actually issue were for new cars and trucks.
and then there was an ability for hew to step in if the states were not doing well enough. but before that ever happened people realized that it probably needed to be amended and the 70 act came into being. host: we're looking at efforts put into effect under lbj. if you have questions for them ere's how you can call in. first up is calvin from north carolina. caller: good morning. thank you and the rest of the c-span crew for the really great job you do to keep us informed. two questions. one, as the gentleman articulated, lbj started this initiative. democratic president with i'm not sure whether a republican
or democrat dominated house and senate. e.p.a. came into reality under nixon, a republican. again not sure of the congressional makeup. but my first question is when did the great political divide happen? where folks who believe in the environmental initiatives are against big business and against private business and it's too expensive, and the other folks are for the consumers? so when did the great divide happen? then how does your research and information contribute to the global warming debate? again the same scenario. folks say it's a myth. we've always had dirty air, we're going to always have dirty air. and the other side says if we don't plan now there won't be a future for our grandchildren. guest: thanks for that question. i think that the difficulties in congress and what some would call the gridlock in congress
guest: i think what's hained and one of the reasons we've seen polarization is we've picked the low-hanging fruit. it's amazing how much progress we've made in cleaning up our air. you go back and i have some experience under the clean air act and the reductions on all these pollutants have been dramatic led most of us -- led 99%.een pro-- reduced by what that's meant is getting that next increment has become increasingly expensive and probably less important. and there's debate especially about the last part but as it's gotten much more costly for industry and consumers, you've tended to have this divide. and even back in 1990 that divide was apparent but president george h.w. bush tried to create a consensus that led to the 1990 amendments but we really haven't seen any
significant legislation since then. host: pennsylvania democrat's line. vince. caller: good morning. my question is in 2005 the cheney loopa was put into the energy bill which set up the stage for the fracking boom that we're having nowadays. how does the exemption to the clean air and clean water act ffect the air quality today? guest: hydraulic fracturing which is called fracking. e 2005 issue was that e.p.a. was found to have less control over that some had hoped to have as a regulatory mechanism. there are still rules. some of them are state-driven which folks have concerns about because different states have
different levels of stringsy. in controls over things like hydraulic fracturing. so that localizes debates which people would -- some folks would say is a good thing because it provides more local control more local siptssn input but also allows for more politics and local politics to enter into that decision making and i'm sure frats frustrating to many as well. host: cheryl from new hampshire. caller: i would like to know how it can be helping clean air in when there's knox yide the pools all the time chris crossing the sky making checker boards in the sky, they're spraying the stuff in the sky. what's this doing to the air? host: you mean residue from airlines and things like that? caller: this is not coming from
the airlines. there's a difference between kem trails and contrails. it's up there. you know. and they're seeding the sky with lumen ox yide and i would to know where are they going to stop. guest: i have to say i don't know anything about that issue. and the world in which i live that's never been considered a significant problem so i can't help the caller on that. host: when the act first came out particularly how did industries take it? because it directly most affects industries at the time and going forward. implingts i think in the early days there was much more of a national consensus on these issues. and industry was certainly willing to step up and do the thing that is were necessary that they thought was reasonable. what's happened, as i said over time we've made these enormous improvements and in all these
pollutants but as it's become more and more expensive you tend to get more and more industry concerned about the cost of some of these programs. so you look back to the orely days. there was a consensus we needed to do something. the 67 and 70 act passed unanimously. as the reductions, the programs have become more and more expensive, industry has really started to push back to a much greater extent. host: are some hit harder by the acts, say the coal industry? guest: sure. that varies from administration to administration. the clean air act does give significant discretion to e.p.a. and i think under the obama administration everyone would agree that they've been especially aggressive in targeting cold fired power plants and coal mining. so that really wasn't the case under the clinton and bush administration but there's been a very aggressive effort for the last 5-1/2 years. host: as far as industries.
what about their ability to push back? do they have cover? guest: i think another interesting fact too think about in the regulatory scheme is the technology forcing provisions. there are many parts of the act that premise regulation based on the acnims quite quickly quite deeply, best achieveable control neck noling backed. maximum achieveable controlled technology. several others for various kipeds of sources and various kinds of situations. that can be helpful to industry who are typically able to develop some of those sorts of technologies and have a discussion with regulators such as eacha that it's frankly harder for citizens to become involved in because it's such a high technical level often. i think another point to be
what do you do? who do you represent? guest: our firm represents primarily people in the energy business. so we represent companies that are involved in any kind of energy that you can imagine from coal fired power plants to natural gas development and exploration to refineries to wind and solar projects as well. so our law firm where i've been now for the last seven years primarily represents the energy industry. host: lbj signing the clean air act into law photograph provided to us about that event. we're here talking about the -- mate g pact with the impact with our guests. caller: i've heard several things about the e.p.a. coming after wood-burning stoves and people not using wood-burning stoves in their homes any more. is there any truth to that?
how come there's no one on your panel that's opposing the other side? >> well, e.p.a. i think is in the process of jip dating regulations for wood burning stoves. host: it even comes down to a personal level. guest: it is remarkable the reach. the hair spray that people use and the lighter fluid and the cosmetics and paints and coatings as well as vehicles and fab rishes. it is extraordinarily broad and regulates everything. you look around this room and all of these things here were produced at plants that are subject to the clean air act. host: is that a result of further revisions? guest: back in 1967 it was very generic and no one anticipated you would have these sorts of programs. but over time as i say it's become much more aggressive. host: what about the scope of who is affected? guest: the clean air act is
broad. there's no question about that. i think that's appropriate. another thing that's quite interesting about the act and environmental laws in general is the power of citizen suits. that's something we've not talked about so far. and i think we as environmental lawyers tend to forget how unique they are but the clean air act in 1970 and much of the subsequent environmental law as well adopted provisions often talked about as private attorneys general in which citizens groups, individuals, environmental groups have the power to enforce provisions of these statutes themselves. you don't have to lobby the e.p.a. or another regulator to take action. you have the power to take action yourself. and i think that's a significant and powerful provision and tool that our citizens have to use. host: republican line,
oklahoma. mike go ahead. caller: good morning. this is the second time i've called. i just wanted to give credit where credit is due during this discussion about lbj. it wasrixrd nixon who created the e.p.a. in 970. so let's not leave richard nixon out of this conversation. host: nixon's influence. guest: the caller is absolutely right that nixon created the .p.a. in 1970.
caller: the question wasn't answered who was it the republicans or democrats in the congress when nixon signed the e.p.a.? it seems like bureaucratic mission creep to me. host: the clean air act? guest: yes. the bureaucracy is in the enlargement of our government and the encroachment on the individual or the companies. i just want to know if it was liberal democrats in congress or a republican congress under nixon that we want to give nixon so much credit. uest: maybe i can answer that. i honestly don't know what the
makeup of congress was but it was largely uncontroversial back in those days. so they passed the clean air act, the president created the e.p.a. so it has been pinged on things people care about. there are a lot of people who believe that has grown to that extent and citizens suits. our country is the only country in the world where people have that option. and it's often abused. you have well-fuppeded opponents. people -- well-funded. if they're well funded and well lawyered up they can delay the building of a plant for years. and often try to drag it out enough so that the project is not completed. so i think there is reason to
be concerned and reason to ask, does the clean air act need to be changed? are there ways in which the regulatory apparatus has really gone beyond what is good for society. and i think that's a debate hat people are now having in that process can be agused to stop people for years and years and i think what should happen is e.p.a. should set regulations are shooting at. a lot of these decisions are made kind of on a case by case basis and what that has led to is a lot of uncertainty about what you're going to be allowed to build. and if we had cleared standards and people had certainty going forward they want to know these
standards are very stringent but at least going forward i know where they are. host: proposed changes you would like to see? guest: i think all of us can point to situations where there's been sort of the proponents of the development may have thought was fair or right. i do think that citizens' ability to have a voice is .mportant even if they're present as a threat, i think that that has an important regulatory purpose. host: less, from maryland. , ller: the woman on the panel
the carbon die ox yide, i was under the zpw pression -- impression came out later. guest: that was one of the original criteria pollutants as jeff foint out the we got into the discussion of the pollutants without making the transition clear. those pollutants were articulated under the 1970 act. not the 1967 act. and is the caller is completely correct. the carbon die ox yide which is part of the greenhouse debate has been a much greater issue. host: if i could quickly address that question. no one ever thought that it would be regulated. and i think people generally agree with that over time. host: why so?
guest: it just wasn't considered to a pollutant. we exhale carbon dioxide. a lot of the programs were designed to take pollutants and convert them into less harmful ubstances. it's fundamentally different from anything under the clean air act and given just the volumes involved. a lot of programs just don't make any sense if you try to use co2 to deal with them. so until fairly recently no one thought the clean air act could be used regulate co2 emissions. now you should the obama administration, after a decision by the supreme court that they're trying to use the structure of the clean air act and we're kind of at the beginning of that process and we'll see how that plays out but that is controversial in particular a recent proposal that's come out which i think
goes well beyond what e.p.a. can do under the clean air act but that's certainly a very big debate right now. host: so this coming on the wires that at 11:00 today the e.p.a. administrator jean mccarthy holding a report to congress. the call will focus on the progress e.p.a. has made and work with state local and tribal agencies to help understand this. can you give some background as far as this survey? guest: sure. so the air toxics program really existed in a very nation form earlier but got a lot of teeth in the 1990 amendments to the clean air act. so this is a set of pollutants that are different from the so-called criteria pluletents that we've been discussing earlier. and address air toxics, which can be cars jens, can be seato
toxins that sort of thing. so this report will be expanding that program and providing further information. host: again, if i would just point out, if you look at independent analysis of the clean air act, those programs have cost much more than the benefit has been worth. those programs have turned out to be very costly and posed significant costs not only on businesses but on consumers. and i think e.p.a. would say if we had the choice we would spend less of our resources on those programs and more on other programs. so again in my view that's one of those things that could probably be fixed under the clean air act. host: how is it a dost to consumers? guest: again, if it's more costly to produce any type of a good, then that cost in large degree is passed along to the consumer. we're starting to see that in a much more significant way when
it comes to power bills. power bills have gone up significantly over time and that's for a variety of factors. but in recent years it's primarily because of new environmental requirements. and that's why you see the cost of electricity is much, much higher in california, much higher in the northeast compared to other parts of the country because those environmental requirements do pose significant costs on consumers. so i can tell you that the paint you use for your house is more expensive because of environmental requirements and those are passed to the consumer many, many different ways. caller: i was wondering if those suits and ties live in the real world. have they looked around and noticed that there are no car manufacturing plants no steel mills any more? it's ok if uldn't
more. we have made a lot of progress. jeff made this point early on. we have made a great deal of progress. in the last 40 years. on clean air. and i think that's something to celebrate. host: from columbia, maryland. tom republican line. caller: good morning. would like to thank lbj especially his wife lady bird, when i grew up in washington when i was a kid the potomac was a toiment bowl. and -- toilet bowl. and not just washington. baltimore, pittsburgh, these are all places i visited as a kid. charleston, richmond, all of these cities have beautiful areas around their water now. they were toilet bowls back in
the 60s. something had to be done. and god bless that they did it. now, air, that's another story. how we poison our air in -- and it travels around the world. washington doesn't have any industry in the air, other than power and automobiles pollution, suffers from air patterns from around the country. and we just have to do what -- and be good stewards of our environment. host: thanks, caller. anything from that? guest: i think it's certainly true and goes back to our original discussions. that the problems were visible, were clearly a big issue back in the 6 o 0s and that's why there was a consensus around the issues.
the issue now is, for example, people agree we want clean air. well, if we use the definition of clean air that was in place for many years, vishttullly everybody has clean air but that standard has changed. so there are debates over how much more we should be spending. and the other caller mentioned the issue with u.s. industry that it is certainly true that there has been an incentive for especially heavy industry manufacturing to move overseas. and that's a product of a number of things but part of it is environmental regulation. and i point out that california used to have a significant manufacturing sector and significant industry, and almost entirely that has been moved out of the state now as they have been subject to more and more stringent requirements. so there's a place where we have to draw the line here because it does have an impact on jobs, it has an impact on cost and consumers. so the question is how much more expensive are we going to make thing that is we've been blessed in this country with an
abundant supply of natural gas which is attracting more industry to certain parts of the country. but there's concern that overregulation may basically stop that renaissance in the manufacturing sector. host: are you saying that current e.p.a. standards for air are too low as far as the particles and things in the air and unachieveable? guest: that's true certainly with ozone. ozone is a pollutant that we've been dealing with for 40 years. there are parts of the country that simply cannot meet the ozone standard no matter what they do. because of their local geography, because of natural emissions. and so i would argue at least with respect to ozone the standard is not achieveable in certain parts of the country. and yet states have a legal obligation to meet that standard even when people know it can't be met and that's another troubling part of the clean air act. host: what about these current levels? guest: it's an interesting political point, truly.
it's hard to explain. jeff would say people understand that it can't be met. i'm not sure that the mother who is worried about her kid with asthma running around and playing understands that. and that's part of the political crferings and part of the education -- conversation and part of the education process that needs to go on. but we live in a democracy where individual citizens have a right to express their views and to help to decide whether or not an ozone level is too low or not. guest: i certainly agree with that. but unfortunately as in many parts of our society there's a certain amount of demagoguery that goes on and people are fond of revering to ooze maltic children. and no matter what the pollutant is, what in fact the scientific issues are much more complicated than that. so the debate certainly needs
to be had. but it's a difficult one because these are technical issues and people tend to line up on different sides of them. host: i'll ask you, we have a viewer off of twitter. about president bush's clear skies act and impact on the clean air act. guest: well this was something that i was involved in developing back during the bush administration. and basic insight that we had and it was shared by e.p.a. career staff and others was that there was a way that we could get greater environmental protection at a lower cost and provide certainty to the industry by setting very stringent standards but giving industry enough time to meet those standards and to do it in the most cost effective way possible. unfortunately, we came up one vote short in the senate of getting that passed and again that was largely because of the debate over co2 and the
democrats in the senate said well this may be a good idea for those pollutants but unless you also include co2 we're not going to vote for this act. so again, i don't think there's in my view it's pretty clear that would have been a more cost effective way to get these need reed duckses. and you can argue over whether the caps were in the right place but it was an effort to provide some longer term certainty to the power sector. guest: yet another example of the difficulty of getting consensus on a legislative fix. because i think there were some valuable things of the clear skies initiative. it wasn't able to get through. certainly there can be disagreement. if we were able to have a democratic process in the congress to deal with some of these issues and actually get them past, i think many of us would think that was a better
regulatory system but e.p.a. is left with a circumstance where they're trying to adapt legislation from 1990 at the earliest by and large to situations 230 years later and -- 30 years later and that's a difficult thing. host: one more call from washington state. democrat's line. caller: i've been listening to your audience. i'm originally from missouri. the beach one time was dess lated by toxin. then we go back to the 60s where the bald eagle was decimated by the pollutant from all the other exstinchingts. so as americans, as we're progressive in our state and our country, we're a bunch of cry babies. we do not need to consume more than we need. and we need to be good
stewards. for our children and beyond. so when we talk about jobs and . forth, i'm 57 now i was in the military. my point is we have to come together to make this happen. we have to put our differences and say we can do this. as americans, as democrats and republicans. and the congress needs to come together and look down the road 20-year-olds from now. these jobs are going overseas. host: we'll have to leave it there. and since you both talked about the divide this issue usually takes, he talks about coming together. is that a possibility on any front? guest: i think it is. i think there are people of good will on both sides of the spectrum. i think congress in particular is a difficult forum to make that happen but i think a lot
of policy can be developed outside that context. and certainly some work and guidance by congressional i like to use the example of president george h.w. bush who was a republican who really took an active role in trying to get consensus through congress. i'm critical of president obama who really didn't engage in the building whensus he was tried from up registration. and the problem we now have, in my view, is epa is trend a pound of very large square peg into a small round hole and some people abusing theis authority of the clean air act. that will ultimately be decided in court, probably, but ihi