John Broder looks back today at the Obama Administration’s decision to delay ozone standards. As has been reported several times before, he finds the meddling hands of Cass Sunstein and Chief of Staff Bill Daley. At least Sunstein, the head of OIRA, has some tenuous connection to regulations, if not science and the environment. But if you thought that it makes no sense for a White House Chief of Staff to be involved in ozone regulation, well, you’re right:
The decision pitted Ms. (EPA Administrator Lisa) Jackson, a Princeton-trained chemical engineer and self-described “New Orleans girl,” against the White House chief of staff, William M. Daley, a son and brother of bare-knuckled Chicago mayors who was brought in to help repair relations with business and Congress […]
Ms. Jackson knew that standard would cause political heartburn at the White House, so before submitting it she met with Mr. Daley at least three times in June to try to deal with any concerns. Mr. Daley, rightly sensing the uproar from business and local governments at the cost of meeting such a standard, sharply questioned the costs and burdens as well as the timing of the new rule but never explicitly asked her to hold off or pull back […]
Against all this, there was no one lobbying strongly within the White House for the tougher standard. Carol M. Browner, a former E.P.A. administrator who had served as the White House coordinator for energy and environmental policy, left earlier this year as Mr. Daley was taking over because she sensed those issues were taking a back seat to economic and political concerns.
Mr. Daley abolished her job, leaving no one in the current White House who speaks as forcefully on environmental issues as she did.
So Daley ran interference on Jackson before even getting the decision to the President, and he knee-capped the White House of its environmental advisors so nobody the President trusted would have his ear after the fact. The coup de grace here comes in a meeting with the head of American Lung Association, a childhood friend of Daley’s. By this time, Daley had already taken a meeting with business lobbyists, and he clearly just parroted them: [cont’d.]