Bucking the GOP field's mantra that EPA rules are all bad, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney cautiously defended a controversial Obama administration clean-air rule during a GOP presidential debate Sunday in New Hampshire.
In response to a question about EPA’s so-called “Good Neighbor” rule—which controls air pollution that blows across state lines—Romney said: “We have to find ways to keep pollution from one state overwhelming the ability of another state to have clean air.”
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney was on the forefront of implementing clean-air regulations. As one of the states downwind from polluting states, Massachusetts stands to benefit from the Obama administration’s new rule, which was delayed by a federal court late last month.
Before cautiously defending the rule, Romney did say he didn’t know the specifics of EPA’s Good Neighbor regulation, which is officially called the cross-state air pollution rule.
New Hampshire votes in its GOP presidential primary on Tuesday. Like Massachusetts, New Hampshire is also downwind from polluting states and also benefits from EPA’s Good Neighbor rule. Romney surely realized that when he decided to defend—however cautiously—EPA’s efforts.
Romney quickly shifted topics though and went on to tout the benefits of natural gas, which burns more cleanly than the nation’s most common form of fuel for electricity, coal.
“The big opportunity here…is natural gas,” Romney said. “We have massive new natural gas reserves found in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota.”