Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Newspapers and Two former EPA Administrators Speak Out Against GOP Attacks on EPA Authority

As most of us are aware, there is an effort underway by the Republican-led House of Representatives to restrict the ability of the USEPA to regulate, in particular EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  I came across a post on the climate blog Climate Progress that compiles several of the most recent editorials by newspapers, as well as an Op-Ed by two former EPA Administrators appointed by Republican Presidents.

In the latter, former EPA Administrators William Ruckelshaus (appointed by Ronald Reagan) and Christine Todd Whitman (a former NJ Republican Governor and appointed by George W. Bush) decry:
Today the agency President Richard Nixon created in response to the public outcry over visible air pollution and flammable rivers is under siege. The Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would, for the first time, “disapprove” of a scientifically based finding, in this case that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. 
These two Administrators point out that:
This finding was extensively reviewed by officials in the administrations of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. It was finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision that greenhouse gases fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. 

Rather than engage in an honest and responsible debate on possible policy solutions, House Republicans have instead chosen to deny the science in order to avoid responsibility.  In their Op-Ed, Ruckelshaus and Whitman remind Congress that the people demanded EPA deal with the sources of the pollution that had given us air we could see and rivers that caught fire.  Actions taken by Congress (e.g., passing the Clean Air Act), the President (Nixon created the EPA by Executive Order), and the EPA through responsible regulations have given us cleaner and safer air and water along with a host of other changes that protect our health and environment.  The Administrators say:
It has taken four decades to put in place the infrastructure to ensure that pollution is controlled through limitations on corporate, municipal and individual conduct. Dismantle that infrastructure today, and a new one would have to be created tomorrow at great expense and at great sacrifice to America’s public health and environment. The American public will not long stand for an end to regulations that have protected their health and quality of life. 

Links to newspaper editorials can be found on the Climate Progress siteClimate Progress is run by Dr. Joseph Romm, a former Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during the Clinton Administration.

No comments: