Eighty-four US House Republicans yesterday introduced a bill to nullify the EPA finding late last year that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide represent a threat to human health and therefore should be regulated as pollutants under the clean air act—also known as the “endangerment” finding.
Although this brings the focus back on Republicans as the party that is anti-climate change regulation, there has been a flurry of recent activity to nullify the EPA’s findings from both sides of the aisle, including bills introduced by Democrats and Republicans alike to accomplish essentially the same goal.
If successful, the bill could also derail the amazing consensus recently reached between automakers and the government to raise fuel economy standards and lower vehicle emissions dramatically over the next several years. The auto industry is counting on these new regulations to provide certainty as they plan for the next generation of vehicles.
The EPA findings were largely viewed as a way for the Obama administration to move forward with tackling climate change without the help of our largely dysfunctional congress. But congress is, apparently, still trying its damndest to exert its dysfunctional and broken influence.
Upon introducing the new bill, House Republican leader John Boehner said, “The last thing we need in this struggling economy is new regulations that amount to a new tax on energy, a tax that’s going to hit every middle class family and small business owner. This new effort by the EPA needs to be shut down.”
EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy said in response that these efforts by lawmakers “deny the overwhelming science that greenhouse-gas pollution is a real and serious threat to the health and welfare of our citizen. It disregards the Supreme Court decision that directed us to act and ignores the evidence before our own eyes.”
To me it doesn’t matter what side of the argument you take, the fact of the matter is we now have the power and technology to clean up after our combustion-obsessed selves. What is wrong about that? When we burn stuff for energy or otherwise, we make all sorts of byproducts that aren’t good. Some of them have a direct link to our health (volatile organic compounds and the like) and some of them have an indirect link (upsetting the balance of the natural world). In the end they all affect us somehow, so why not fix it?
Plus, if the US doesn’t adopt some kind of climate stance and start moving towards that goal, we WILL be passed up by every other country in the new climate- and energy-centered economy. We aren’t the biggest player on the block anymore. If we hope to even remain a bit player, the writing’s on the wall.
Image Credit: kevindooley‘s Flickr Photostream, Used under a creative commons license.