David Roberts of Grist does a nice job of summing up the importance of the new EPA rule regarding the emission of mercury and other toxins from coal- and oil-fired power plants:
… This one is a Big Deal. It’s worth lifting our heads out of the news cycle and taking a moment to appreciate that history is being made. Finally controlling mercury and toxics will be an advance on par with getting lead out of gasoline. It will save save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. It will make America a more decent, just, and humane place to live.
Paul Krugman posted the Grist item and added this:
The point that strikes me most, however, is that this shows that it matters who holds the White House. You can complain about Obama’s lack of a strong progressive agenda, which I sometimes do, or wonder what good it is to hold the White House when the other side blocks every attempt to do good through legislation. But mercury regulation would not have happened if John McCain were president.
OK, Paul, I can’t argue with that. Even the worst Democratic president — and I think Obama’s performance in office so far would almost qualify him for that title — is preferable to the Republicans who are vying for the job.