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. Last 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.
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.