Remember how they used to say “never trust anyone over 30”?
Big Coal has a new twist on that: Never trust any law or rule over the age of 40.
Yes, you can read into this that big polluters are desperate to try out new arguments against the Clean Air Act, since the old standbys that pollution isn’t harmful or pollution costs too much to clean up haven’t worked.
And no, resorting to attacking the Clean Air Act based on age isn’t some kind of tongue-in-cheek spoof from The Onion or Stephen Colbert.
In the hopes of pressuring U.S. Senators into voting this week against badly-needed updates to the Clean Air Act, the coal industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is running a radio ad in Michigan, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania (per E&E News, subscrip required) with what is quite possibly the single stupidest argument ever made in Washington.
Here is the full text of the ACCCE ad:
You wouldn’t use a hammer to fix your computer. You don’t use a folding map if you have a GPS. The point is, we don’t use yesterday’s tools to solve today’s challenges. Yet the Environmental Protection Agency has started regulating greenhouse gas emissions under a 40-year-old law that doesn’t even mention the term 'greenhouse gases.' The result could be higher energy prices and lost jobs.”
That’s right – the Clean Air Act is no longer relevant simply because it’s 40 years old.
To paraphrase the comedian Jerry Seinfeld: “Who were the marketing wizards that came up with this?”
Think about it for a second: What the geniuses at ACCCE have come up with here is a sort of Logan’s Run approach to civil order. Once a law or rule gets to be over a certain age, we have to take it out back behind the shed and shoot it.
Just how insane is this approach to running a nation?
Well, the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1787. That means it’s more than five times more irrelevant over than the Clean Air Act. Better ditch it!
The Emancipation Proclamation – an executive order of 1863 and now nearly 150 years old, which means it is coming up on being four times more shreddable than the Clean Air Act.Gone!
Medicare, civil rights legislation, women’s right to vote, child labor laws. All of these are as fundamental to protecting our rights as citizens as the Clean Air Act is to protecting our right to breathe clean air.
Obviously, there are plenty of laws more than forty years old that we wouldn’t throw out. I could go on here, but even the ACCCE brain trust should be able to figure out my point by now.
You can trust people over 30. Laws and rules over 40 years of age are not automatically out of date.
In fact, it seems to me that the only people you can’t trust in this equation are the ACCCE “marketing wizards” who write the radio ads for Big Coal … Of course, this is the group that tried to make coal cute and cuddly by gluing googly-eyes and scarfs to little lumpen coal characters…and it’s the groups that completely wrecked its own credibility with a scandal involving forged letters from real groups in support of ACCCE’s agenda.
Hmmm…speaking of using “yesterday’s tools to meet today’s challenges”….imagine what they might say if one proposed to apply their principle to energy sources…like coal?.