We are the 99%

April 9, 2011

Jason Altmire And The EPA

We'll start, yet again, at Chris Potter's slagheap:
[US Rep. Tim] Murphy is among 95 cosponsors of House Resolution 910, the "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011" being discussed in the House today. As such, he joins such devotees of reason as Michele Bachmann and Joe Barton, the guy who apologized to BP after the gulf oil spill. This is not great company to be in, especially on matters of energy policy and science.

The upshot of the bill, in fact, is to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from acting on the science of climate change. Specificially, the bill bars the agency from issuing "any regulation concerning, tak[ing] action relating to, or tak[ing] into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change." [Link to thomas.gov in original corrected]
Potter says, a paragraph later:
HR 910 is, in fact, all about the power of positive thinking. It seeks to void a series of previous EPA actions, including a 2009 finding that "greenhouses gasses ... endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations." HR 910 formally deems that this finding is "repealed and shall have no legal effect."

Poof! Problem solved! In the unlikely event this bill became law, the EPA couldn't regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, because the scientific basis for doing so would have been repealed.
Here's the part of the legislation that voids the finding:
(4) CERTAIN PRIOR AGENCY ACTIONS- The following rules and actions (including any supplement or revision to such rules and actions) are repealed and shall have no legal effect:
`(A) ...
`(B) `Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act', published at 74 Fed. Reg. 66496 (December 15, 2009).
And here's the summary of that December, 2009 finding:
The Administrator finds that six greenhouse gases taken in combination endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations. The Administrator also finds that the combined emissions of these greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas air pollution that endangers public health and welfare under CAA section 202(a).

These Findings are based on careful consideration of the full weight of scientific evidence and a thorough review of numerous public comments received on the Proposed Findings published April 24, 2009.
And this is from the overview:
Pursuant to CAA section 202(a), the Administrator finds that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare. Specifically, the Administrator is defining the ‘‘air pollution’’ referred to in CAA section 202(a) to be the mix of six long-lived and directly-emitted greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). In this document, these six greenhouse gases are referred to as ‘‘well-mixed greenhouse gases’’ in this document (with more precise meanings of ‘‘long lived’’ and ‘‘well mixed’’ provided in Section IV.A).

The Administrator has determined that the body of scientific evidence compellingly supports this finding. The major assessments by the U.S. Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the National Research Council (NRC) serve as the primary scientific basis supporting the Administrator’s endangerment finding.
This is what the House Republicans voided by majority vote.

Aye, but it's not only Republicans who are looking to overturn science by legislative fiat.

From the NYTimes:
If there was any doubt about which Democratic House members are worrying most about their re-election prospects in 2012, one only had to look at yesterday's roll call vote on the Republican bill to strip U.S. EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases.

Nineteen moderate and conservative Democrats joined 236 Republicans in supporting the bill, which was sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). Not coincidentally, some had close calls during last year's Republican wave, and most are significant GOP targets in this election cycle.
Guess which conservative Democrat is among those 19?
Pennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire, who won re-election by 2 percentage points in 2010 and will either be targeted through redistricting or with a tough challenger.
This is disappointing to say the least. Science is science. It simply can't be overturned by a 236 Republicans and 19 Democrats sitting in the United States House of Representatives.


EdHeath said...

Even though I believe a majority of registered voters in Altmire's district are Democrats (or at least Democrats outnumber Republicans, maybe there are even more independents), the typical Western Pennsylvania Democrat may often be strongly pro union, but also is often conservative socially. I suspect Democrats in Altmire's are unlikely to choose a more environmentally minded Democrat in the primary, but also unlikely to support a more conservative Republican in the general. Which, if you think about it, is sort of the position Obama finds himself in. Come election time, Democrats may look at the alternatives, and forget their being disappointed with either Altmire or Obama.

Ol' Froth said...

How the hell do you "repeal" a scientific finding?

Oh nevermind, I already know the answer.