White House Stiffens Resolve On Environment, Threatens Veto

The President’s advisers have made it official and are recommending a strong veto of a House bill that would gut two key anti-pollution rules.

In a sternly worded statement, officials at the Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday took exception to a House bill that would put off a pending upgrade of mercury standars for power plants and delay an EPA rule cutting power plant emissions that blow across state lines and contribute to smog.

“Each year, these rules would avoid tens of thousands of premature deaths, prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and thousands of hospital visits for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and alleviate hundreds of thousands of childhood asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses,” the officials wrote in the statement. “EPA estimates that these two rules alone will yield hundreds of billions of dollars in net benefits each year.”The Hill first reported the possibility of a veto threat Monday, noting that the measure would punt completion of upcoming mercury standards for power plants until at least six months after the interagency panel’s final review in August of 2012.

The warning signal from the administration comes in the wake of the White House buckling to GOP pressure on its plan to raise ozone standards earlier this month, a move that had environmental activists seething.

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