GOP’s hare-brained scheme to kill clean air regulations

Rep. Flores: “Republicans in the House as a whole want to get the EPA shut down on these bunny trails.”

For EPA regulations, benefits consistently exceed costs.  So this ThinkProgress cross-post will take you down the right-wing rabbit hole and make you hopping mad.

Fossil fuel-burning industries, particularly coal and oil companies, have pursued an aggressive political strategy to ensure that they do not have to pay for any of their pollution. For instance, these companies have funded a vast network of “libertarian” and “conservative” front groups to spread the lie that climate change is not real, that regulations on pollution destroy the economy, and other fraudulent arguments to pad the profits of polluters.

In the 2010 midterm elections, oil and coal companies, like Peabody and Koch Industries, poured a record amount of campaign contributions into electing pro-polluter Republicans. Now, it appears that the new polluter-funded GOP majority will be repaying the favor. Sunday night on Tea Party Internet radio, Rep.-elect Bill Flores (R-TX) explained that Republicans “as a whole want to get the EPA shut down” on regulations:

FLORES: Absolutely, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to get on Natural Resources is it puts me in the position, not my full jurisdiction over the EPA but I do have some jurisdiction there. I can tell you the House as a whole, the Republicans in the House as a whole want to get the EPA shut down on these bunny trails that’s going down that are throwing people out of work “” particularly the way it’s abusing Texas. And I think that Texas can count on getting some relief from the EPA within the first few months of this Congress because they really have gone overboard.

Listen here:

So far, polluter interests have attempted to stifle EPA regulations using a wave of litigation and astroturf lobbying. In Congress next year, polluters will flex their muscle and use their GOP cohorts to defund and attempt to eliminate the EPA.

— Lee Fang, in a TP cross-post.

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18 Responses to GOP’s hare-brained scheme to kill clean air regulations

  1. Wit's End says:

    RPauli sent me the first of a series of youtube videos of a talk in October by Naomi Oreskes about her book, Merchants of Doubt.

    Absolutely astounding how she traces the deliberate campaign over the years by right-wing ideologues to portray environmental regulation as socialism.

    Worth watching all 6 segments.

    And then there’s “Resisting the Green Dragon”, a “faith” based attack on environmentalism as a “cult”. Ack!

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Those who would eviscerate environmental laws just so they can gain a little more money and power for themselves need to be defeated at all costs. These kinds of people represent the worst in us.

    Democrats appear to be intimidated, and neglect opportunities here. It started with Gore, who heeded bad advice and rarely mentioned environmental issues in his campaign against Bush. This may have cost him the election, since it would have provided him with an opportunity to show his passion and knowledge about a critical subject.

    If Democrats or progressive third party candidates hone in on this issue, we will all benefit. The looming collapses of ecosystems will make all other political issues seem trivial in comparison, and plenty of Americans get it, in spite of what hack political consultants try to claim.

  3. Leif says:

    There are no sidelines any more.
    The choice is Black and White.
    Perhaps I should say Black or Green.
    Choose Carefully!
    Our Past is now the Enemy of Our Future.

    We need to send a “Thank You” card to the GOBP for clearing up any ambiguity…

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    We will have to write off Flores’ district in Texas, due to the state’s history. The original settlers viewed the natural world as being full of hazards- Comanches, rattlesnakes, and biting insects. It is a place with little aesthetic beauty, where most residents view their mission as beating the land into submission. A similar culture prevails in Wyoming, Utah, and Georgia.

  5. Kota says:

    Save the bunnies!! Both literally and figuratively.

  6. spiritkas says:


    All of 82.5 Million people turned out to vote in 2010.

    Estimates I’ve been able to find but the eligible voting population at 235.8 million, and a revised lower estimate taking out non-nationals, felons, anyone on parole, and citizens overseas gives a lower end popoulaiton estimate of 218 million.

    That gives a range of 34.9-37.8% of eligile voters actually casting a ballot. Let’s just call it 36% give or take a bit.

    In what insane world does a system that fails to capture 64% of the populations vote qualify as a democracy or a fair republic?

    According to the GMU data I linked to above, only Minnesota and South Dakota had voter turnout greater than 50% and those were only a smidge above 50%.

    A plurality result of 51% of 36% total turnout is 18.36%. So we have a house of represetatives that can easily be had for a mere 184/1000 people voting for it. Less than 1/5 of the population sets the agenda for everyone else as far as voters and considering the small number of media outlets broadly utilized…

    It is no wonder we’re continuing to see the privatization of the wealth of the commons and the public burden of the environmental and economic debt to be paid for the looting of the common resources of our coal in our mountains and our oil under our soil. What right does a company have to lay claims of private ownership of black rocks buried in the appalachian mountains? Any such argument supporting that goes so far over the pale in terms of what can be owned and how it can be used compared to the daily lives of people farming small plots and living in houses in the suburbs or in high rises in the cities. The left of the pulic commons in no roundabout way helps us, no matter how often the lie is repeated.

    Cheers to the truth of the matter, namely that this is not a democracy and this is not a republic of the people, it is an illusion to placate the populace while the oligarchy consolidates and mergers unto itself.



  7. Bob Doublin says:

    Is this the latest Republican talking point? WHINING that the EPA is ABUSING Texas? Where’s all these people who go on about “Pity Parties” when you need them? And I didn’t think I could ever be more disgusted than I’ve been since the Gulf Disaster.

  8. toby says:

    A big fight over the EPA might be good grounds for Democrats … we already know that the public will listen to arguments based on what is common sense for public health.

    I just hope that Obama and his crowd learned from the Healthcare debacle, when Fox News and Sarah Palin were allowed set the agenda about “death panels” etc. Apparently, many American still believe the death panels are real.

    The EPA and Obama should be getting ready for a Swiftboat attack. Something tells me one is on the way ….

  9. Wes Rolley says:

    With the new Congressional apportionment announced today, Texas will gain 4 seats in the House and Florida will gain 2. New York and Ohio will each lose two seats. It is already listed at Wikipedia.

    Both Texas and Florida have legislatures controlled by Republicans and will likely have new seats filled by Republicans. Some of the other gains come from states with Republicans controlled state legislature: Arizona, Utah, South Carolina, Georgia.

    Having pointed this out, honesty requires me to mention the fact that there are some Republicans who understand the relationship between Conservative Values and Ecological Wisdom: Republicans like Jim DiPeso of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

    The net of this is that the anti-EPA, quasi Libertarian movement will be strengthened in the future unless there is a well organized effort to combat this at the local level. I was fully involved in the effort to defeat Richard Pombo in 2006, from which effort I can give the following advice. Local organization was key and must be sustained. It took two election cycles to defeat Pombo. Also, the work of some national organizations following whatever non-local planned script that was available, often proved to be counter-productive even though they pumped large amounts of anti-Pombo advertising into the race.

    If we are to prevent 2012 from becoming an ecological disaster, then those efforts must be underway as quickly as possible.

  10. Ziyu says:

    Now the Republicans aren’t just going after greenhouse gas regulation. They’re trying to stop regulation of ozone and other harmful air pollutants. I went to a conservative website and the majority were saying to disband the EPA completely. They absolutely hated the EPA study that Reagan and Bush I’s cap and trade program lowered sulfur emissions. They seemed to be denying the problem of acid rain. One even proclaimed that clean air and water isn’t a right and that corporation had the right to pollute. This kind of extremism dominates the Tea Party which now controls most of the Republicans. The Republicans must defeated next election or else the air may not be breathable in the near future.

  11. Andy says:

    Wes: Figure out how to get hispanics to vote and Texas would fall into the Democratic Party category.

  12. slect says:

    The Environmental Working Group’s findings on the abundant presence of hexavalent chromium in cities across the US will make this anti-EPA crusade look as what it is: deliberate poisoning.

  13. What does Republican mean anymore? Didn’t it used to mean something about a sincerely informed belief that government should be smaller, and budgets should be reined in. These days, tracking the Republican position is easy: look for something evil where greedy businesses have the potential to bribe, and there’s their position. It’s going from ignorance to deliberately evil policy, with the only benefactors being the very short term cash payments they receive (certainly nothing to bank their retirement on, we’re talking a couple hundred thou a pop). And how do they get such reprehensible policies (obviously they have to lie about this stuff, they’re politicans, after all) to sell with the voters? Religion. Vote for God. Apparently, voting to stop protecting the Environment in favor of coporate greed is…What Jesus Would Do (paraphrase-awkwardly)?

    What a joke.

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Wit’s End, environmental regulation is socialism. That’s why its humane, decent and serves the interests of all people not just the insatiably psychopathic capitalists of the Right. That the people of the US have been so brainwashed to see life as a ruthless competition with the devil taking the hindmost (about 90% of the population over the last few decades) is why you have reached this morally insane, suicidal state. These Republicans are just the living embodiment of the capitalist principle outlined by Adam Smith, ‘Everything for me and nothing for anybody else’. I would bet that psychological investigation of these and most other Rightwing politicians would reveal all the familiar stigmata-lack of empathy, indifference to the fate of others, gigantic egotism, mendacity and unscrupulousness-that are the hallmarks of the classic psychopath. Pity so few are the ‘charming’ sub-species.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    PS-these creatures are not ‘hare’-brained. No hare ever set out to destroy his own species out of simple greed and stupefying imbecility.

  16. matt says:

    MM: Environmental regulation is not socialism – unless you redefine socialism as a rule or law designed to control conduct. Socialism – like capitalism – is neither humane, decent nor serves the needs of all people. Any ideology will be destructive when taken as absolute whether it be neo-liberalism, cornucopianism, communism, socialism, catholicism, radicalism, neo-conservatism, feminism etc etc etc.

  17. Mike says:

    We should be pressing for investigations into when a ‘think tank’ is really a PR firm and should thus lose its tax exempt status.

  18. Wit's End says:

    Mike, I have wondered how this can be accomplished. For instance, I got a concern troll on my blog who was spouting the usual lies and finally linked to “The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change” which I wrote about here:

    They claim to be a 501(c)(3) public charity and solicit donations but they are clearly an industry front. It’s just infuriating!

    Even more aggravating is that the “vice-president” – who is the son of the “president” has been doing the climate-change equivalent of teaching creationism in the public schools!

    “In 1999, Dr. Idso was appointed by the Arizona Speaker of the House of Representatives to serve on the Arizona Advisory Council on Environmental Education, which ensures that state funds will only be given to support environmental education programs in Arizona’s K-12 public schools that offer balanced viewpoints on environmental issues based on current peer-reviewed scientific literature.”