Thursday, May 21, 2015

GOP Enviornment Policy: Air is Fine, Food is Safe, Water No Problemo — Trust Us

                  Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)                   Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)

Image result for GOP on Climate Change No Problemo
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)                  For. Gov. JEB Bush (R-FL)

BTW: There are other GOPers who deny climate change or pollution or stuff like that than those 4 above. A good run down is here from Bill Moyers - check it out. Now the rest of this ongoing story.

Introduction to GOP move to rein in or totally dismantle the EPA:  Newly-elected Senate Majority “Leader” Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has pledged to rein in the EPA and in his fight he is joined by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who also said on election night 2014 that if the GOP gains the majority that he would become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and work against the EPA. Inhofe is an established enemy of the EPA and a staunch skeptic of the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change, even written a book two years ago titled “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.” Inhofe even compared the EPA to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo and pushed to roll back water and air pollution rules, ozone limits and funding for contamination cleanup.

Background: In recent years, the EPA has undertaken a series of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the carbon pollution that is a major cause of global warming – that is that which is emitted from stationary sources such as power plants and mobile sources such as automobiles. All of the EPA actions fall under the authority of the Clean Air Act. EPA has also promulgated other standards to reduce air pollution — such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants that provide indirect climate benefits by encouraging companies to build and operate newer, more efficient power plants.

The Clean Air Act sole purpose is to reduce carbon pollution and other types of air pollution has been under attack from lawmakers in both parties practically since 1975 when it was enacted.

As polluters and their GOP allies in Congress continue to attack the EPA, including calls to dismantle the agency (remember Rep. Michele Bachmann and other speeches calling for that?). On the other hand, a broad range of constituencies including business, faith, environmental, sportsmen and women, community development, Latino, and more — have called on Congress to oppose efforts that block these strong safeguards and to indeed protect our public health more so.

Now: Republicans in the Senate are pushing forward an environmental nightmare of a bill — what it would emasculate the Clean Air Act (1975) that they pledged to do since 2014: 

*  Current standards to curb power plant carbon pollution emission: Blocked.
*  The EPA’s power to protect all communities from harmful air pollution: Gone.
*  The guarantee that has made the Clean Air Act work for 45 yearsGone.

Why? Painfully obvious: Force legislation that exists out with that which will pad (more) the pockets of Big Coal, Big Oil, and anyone else who profits from pollution from those products into the air.

What this bill would do is cut at the heart of the Clean Air Act that would make it impossible to effectively limit carbon pollution from power plants into the air and do more damage not prevent further damage — all that is the #1 source of the pollution that fuels directly climate change.

What the GOP bill says in simple language: The Clean Power Plan (the current law) and other clean air rules … shall be of no force or effect, and shall be treated as though the rules had never been issued. Again I ask: why?

Meanwhile across town as it were: At a stop in Bedford, NH hopeful Jeb Bush fielded a question about climate change, arguing it was a problem but not of the “highest priority,” and that there needed to be greater discussion about the role of humankind in its effects. His remarks included him saying in part:

“Look, first of all, the climate is changing. I don’t think the science is clear what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on, this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you. It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t even have a conversation about it. The climate is changing, and we need to adapt to that reality.”
Note: President Obama spent a recent week pushing climate change as an integral part of U.S. foreign policy and Jeb called it a “small part,” but quickly added that the U.S. should take it seriously.
[h/t Reuters]
[Image via Andrew Cline /]
Meanwhile, in the House and directly related: House subcommittee on Energy and Power Chairman Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY).  A bill that would delay and ultimately weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives.
Note on Mr. Witfield and I suspect others, too has received a large chunk of his campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry and electric utilities, e.g., in the 2013-2014 election cycle, his top three donors were First Energy Corp., the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and Alpha Natural Resources (that according to data compiled by Open
In his entire career as a member of Congress, Whitfield received from electric utilities, $707,315; from oil and gas, $503,997; and, from the mining industry, $315,577.
So, what is at stake for him and others like him who hate the EP? Oh, yeah their political survival in office. I call it the “Golden Goose” complex – they can’t or won’t kill that booger even to serve and protect those they say they are in office to serve and protect.
Sorry about the booger reference graphic, but graphics at this point are worthwhile to make the point against those arrogant, out of touch SOBs in office who serve for selfish reasons and not much else…!!!
Finally about water – does that matter? EPA reports that one out of three Americans get their drinking water from sources that aren't clearly protected, and the new EPA rules under the CWA would make sure those waters aren't polluted. Some members of congress and at the state levels say it is an overreach and was aggravating longstanding trust issues between rural areas and the federal government.
They say the rule would "trample on private property rights and hold back our economy," was read from a memo sent out by the office of House Majority Leader McCarthy from California just before the House floor debate and vote – it (H.R. 1732 passed: 261-155 on May 12, 2015). The White House has threatened to veto the legislation.
That new rule and EPA oversight? Broadly, the EPA rule would assert federal regulatory authority over streams, tributaries, wetlands and other flowing waters that significantly affect other protected waters downstream. That means some operators who wanted to dump pollutants into those waters or develop around them would have to get a federal permit.
So, what is wrong with that you might ask? Overreach or concern for the water we drink?

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