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Ground Rules Set For Climate Change Battle

NScott's picture

In light of the pending EPA budget cuts, the citizens of the United States now face the real possibility of what would amount to a “stop-work order” on the 40 year old, extremely beneficial (benefits that outweigh costs at a 40:1 ratio) Clean Air Act.

Senator James Inhofe has spearheaded a movement that would essentially eliminate the EPA’s flagship regulation; one that has effectively protected the public health for decades. The Clean Air Act has drastically reduced harmful pollution; specifically greenhouse gases. This nefarious proposal will prolong America’s addiction to oil and other ancient energy technologies. Any forward movement towards a cleaner, progressive energy economy will vanish overnight.

Inhofe’s proposed Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 would force the EPA to watch idly as the big oil and coal companies ravage the environment. Accountability will be a thing of the past for polluters. As a house floor battle over the GOP-led bill unfolds this Wednesday, the fate of The Clean Air Act will soon be determined.

The House Rules Committee on Tuesday evening released the ground rules for the debate that is to take place regarding the issue. Interestingly enough, the House lawmakers will be forced to vote on record about whether they believe humans are causing climate change. In fact, a proposal from Rep Henry Waxman will undergo a vote that would add a section to the Energy Tax Prevention Act, stating:

“Congress accepts the scientific findings of the Environmental Protection Agency that climate changes is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.”

How is that for some accountability? With an overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is occurring due to human actions – mostly in part due to the burning of coal and oil – it seems like the proponents of this bill are willingly thumbing their nose at the environment. They want to cripple The Clean Air act so that greenhouse gas regulation is a thing of the past.

Furthermore, the EPA has stated that 160,000 cases of premature death, 130,000 heart attacks, 1.7 million asthma attacks, and 13 million lost work days have been prevented due to initiatives such as The Clean Air Act. It was these very same regulations that have contributed to the extremely low number of mesothelioma related deaths, dropping the annual rate down to under 3000 per year. This statistic alone is a remarkable feat, considering the mesothelioma life expectancy is shorter than 14 months at most.

But still, the bill’s backers continue to focus on what they believe will be job losses and other economic hardships that will result from EPA regulations. Rather than keeping an eye on the future, GOP lawmakers are seeking a quick fix. When has that ever been a good idea?

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