(Crossposted at Young Philly Politics)
At YPP, none of us shy from criticizing our own party. That said, as the Gov. race heats up, I think it is worth highlighting important differences between Ed Rendell and
Jerry Seinfeld Lynn Swann.
So, today, a semi-regular feature will begin over at YPP: A random compilation of Why Rendell is better.
Today's reason why Rendell is better: Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, Kathleen McGinty.
One highlight of Ed Rendell's time as Mayor, as well as his three years as Governor, is his willingness to hire smart people, and get out of the way as they do their job. In this sense, Rendell has less of an ego than many politicians, and it serves him really well. This gives us capable public servants like Mike Diberardinis, Donna Cooper and Kathleetn McGinty.
We hear about McGinty today, because she just did something that I doubt any DEP Secretary would do in a Swann administration: Set tough new rules for mercury emissions.
From the Inquirer:
The new regulation would make Pennsylvania the fifth state - and among the first major coal-producing states - to impose emissions reductions that are stricter than those set by the federal government.
The Pennsylvania proposal would require the state's 36 coal-fired plants to reduce emissions by 80 percent in four years and 90 percent by 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a 70 percent cap on emissions by 2018, although full compliance is not expected until years later.
"The federal rule is woefully inadequate in protecting public health," DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty said in an interview yesterday.
Pennsylvania's coal-fired power plants - two of which are in the Philadelphia suburbs - produce most of the state's 5.7 tons of mercury emitted each year. Pennsylvania is second behind Texas in the amount of mercury released from power plants and other sources, such as factories, and accounts for 10 percent of mercury emissions total nationwide, according to 2003 federal data.
This is great news. Mercury is a toxin that is incredibly dangerous. It is basically cumulative, in that once it gets into your body, it stays there, and just keeps building up, and leads to all sorts of bad outcomes. Of course, industry is -surprise!- against this. They give two main reasons why they are against tougher PA regulations, neither of which I am particularly swayed by.