Come on, Ramesh, get outside the Beltway bubble and try to understand what Republican politics are like elsewhere. Here in Dallas, there are lots of Republicans who see Rep. Joe Barton, the powerful Republican Congressman who represents the district south of Dallas where these cement plants are located, as a major part of the problem. You can snicker all you want about the apparent obviousness of the issue, but the plain fact is those cement plants would have been forced to clean up their act if Rep. Barton weren’t so obstructionist on the issue and dedicated to protecting that polluting industry–an industry that has a lot to do with the fact that so many people here in north Texas, including my son, suffer from respiratory disease. The childhood asthma problem here is incredible.
Where I live, there are plenty of summer days when authorities warn parents to keep their kids inside because of all the junk in the air. As Judge Keliher told me yesterday, Dallas wasn’t like that when she grew up. Her predecessor as Dallas County Judge, a Republican named Lee Jackson, reportedly woke up to the importance of this issue when he saw girls’ soccer teams here having to run to the sidelines to use their inhalers. I don’t want my kids to grow up breathing this stuff. If Republicans in general–as distinct from local pols like Judge Keliher–are talking about clean air and water as a conservative issue, I’m not hearing them. And that’s too bad.