July 15th, 2016 by Aisha Abdelhamid
Taking cues from Trump’s exhibitionist tirades, Republicans are ramping up the rhetoric against the EPA. A recent House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting was the latest venue for Republican ranting that climaxed in a condemnation of the Clean Power Plan as “un-American.”
Janet McCabe, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator, was called as a witness to a review of the EPA’s regulatory rules during the present administration.
Some members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee complained that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan is “overly burdensome on the American economy.” Rules to reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector, it was charged, are “part of the EPA’s longstanding war on industry.”
Due to repeated belligerence and bullying on the part of Republican members, the Committee Chair was frequently asked by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) to intervene in the “badgering” of Janet McCabe.
Raking McCabe over the coals for several minutes of Trump-like theatrics, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) was especially fired up with ridiculous indignation. “It’s draining the lifeblood out of our businesses,” McCabe scolded. “Between the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S., and others that you folks have gotten. The hundreds of billions of dollars that you guys are sucking out of our economy every year that could be going toward job creation.”
Concluding a prolonged rant against the Clean Power Plan, Johnson stated, “I think it’s absurd, I think it’s irresponsible. Quite frankly, Ms. McCabe, I think it’s un-American.”
So, the Problem is President Obama… not Climate Change?
Reacting strongly to Johnson’s belligerence, Illinois Democrat Representative Rush objected. “Mr. Chairman,” Rush countered, “there is no place in this hearing for a witness, being from the EPA or whatever agency… to be called un-American.”
However, Republicans hold sway in the current House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Committee Chair Ed Whitfield (R-KY) leads the pack. “There are every strong feelings on this issue,” retorted Chairman Whitfield to Rush, “because many people… believe the EPA is exceeding its legal authority under the direction of a president who is trying to impose his will on climate change around the world.”
That’s a pretty ridiculous spin on climate change. Whitfield doesn’t recognize that climate change is imposing its will on the world… he charges President Obama with imposing his will on climate change around the world! This is the real problem, according to Whitfield, Johnson, and fellow Republican climate-denying committee members.
Developed after the EPA found public health risks increasing due to greenhouse gas emissions, the Clean Power Plan has been a major problem for Big Business. As the science of global warming has become better understood, President Obama has promoted the rise of EPA oversight. Expanding current regulations or creating new rules, the EPA has been instrumental in clarifying standards for protecting US water and air quality.
An ongoing legal battle in the Supreme Court is attempting to strip EPA authority by reverting to standards covered in the Clean Air Act, a law passed by Congress in 1990.
Is the Clean Power Plan Un-American?
Is the Clean Power Plan un-American? Especially in these exciting days of Trump-driven media melodrama, “un-American” is a mutually exclusive term. What is un-American? In America, we are free to be anything we want to be – from disrespectful, ranting, money-grubbing bullies, to responsible global citizens in favor of environmental accountability.
If you’d like to take a more active stance in support of the Clean Power Plan, you might like to download the Clean Power Plan Activist kit from Climate Reality Project. The kit gives lots of great tips on the best ways to communicate your views and offers sample graphics and social media posts you can share with your friends and family.
To help you get more inspired about the Clean Power Plan’s significance, the activist kit explains:
• The Clean Power Plan will lead to public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $34 billion to $54 billion per year in 2030, far outweighing the costs.
• Reducing emissions and reducing exposure to particle pollution and ozone in 2030 will avoid a projected:
– Up to 3,600 premature deaths
– 90,000 asthma attacks in children
– Up to 1,700 heart attacks
– 1,700 hospital admissions
– 300,000 missed school and work days
• Every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan will generate up to $4 in health benefits for American families from soot and smog reductions alone.
Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Carbon Emissions
Even though the US has limits on arsenic and mercury emissions from power plants, there is currently no national limit set on carbon emissions. Big business uses every dirty trick in the political playbook to avoid cleaning up the carbon emissions it is responsible for producing. Calling the EPA Clean Power Plan un-American is clearly self-defeating hypocrisy.
Personally, I’d like to put a little spin on House Energy and Commerce Committee member Bill Johnson’s polluted rant against the EPA and shove it back at him: “Take a look at Canada’s power plants – The ‘hundreds of billions of dollars’ that YOU GUYS are sucking out of our economy every year could be going toward CARBON CAPTURE.”
(top image: Republican Rep. from Ohio Bill Johnson attacks EPA’s Janet McCabe at recent House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting. Credit: Thinkprogress.org)
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