This year, however, we find ourselves in an awkward position. On the one hand, we continue to share common beliefs with him on several important issues, and we respect the stature he has achieved as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But increasingly we find ourselves at odds with Mr. Barton on other issues.
We were disappointed, for example, that Mr. Barton led the fight earlier this year against including Ellis County in the Dallas-Fort Worth "nonattainment area" subject to heightened air quality regulation. In battling to keep Ellis County and its polluters out of the region, Mr. Barton positioned himself not just against the regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency, but also against a coalition of business, environmental and GOP elected officials. Mr. Barton ran roughshod over Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher, Collin County Judge Ron Harris and the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
The battle went all the way to the White House. Ultimately, the EPA in Washington ruled against Mr. Barton and placed Ellis County in the nonattainment area.
Mr. Barton often seems to see clean air standards as negatives to be avoided rather than positives to be exploited. We see clean air as a genuine family-values issue, a public health issue and a significant economic development issue in this region. Ellis County, for example, paid a price for bad air last year when Toyota decided to build a big plant in San Antonio, not Ennis, because of the severe ozone problem. We'd like to see Mr. Barton lead the way in accelerating, rather than slowing, the state's progress toward meeting federal ozone standards.
When I interviewed Morris Meyer, I asked if he thought he might get the DMN endorsement, given Barton's refusal to be interviewed by their editorial board (if you read that non-endorsement closely, you can see that no mention is made of any recent conversations with him). He didn't get it despite his hope, and that's a shame, but I look at it this way. The Chonicle endorsed Tom DeLay in 1998, then endorsed no on in CD22 in 2000, and since then has endorsed DeLay's opponent each time. Maybe, like the Chron, the DMN is just working their way up to it. Better late than never.Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 22, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack