The Congressional War on Clean Air and Climate Science

Make no mistake: the climate denial and pro-pollution movement is engaged in a full-frontal assault against science, public health and our economic wellbeing. A quick look at the Republican leadership’s proposed budget for the rest of 2011 shows that they want to make dramatic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies on the front lines of the climate change fight. This, at a time when recent science confirms what we’ve known for a while – climate change is real, and it’s happening.


Two disheartening recent data points come from centers most have never heard of, but which are doing cutting-edge scientific research that is informing our view of climate disruptions. Earlier this month the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that January’s sea ice coverage was the lowest on record, with air temps across much of the Arctic 4-11 degrees above normal. Meanwhile, the National Center for Atmospheric Research announced that new computer modeling confirms concerns that high-elevation critters will feel the heat from climate disruptions. From wolverines to lynx to pika, important species are at risk from rising temperatures and changing habitat conditions exacerbated by heat-trapping pollution.


One might think that this news might sound alarms bells for our elected officials in Washington. But instead of action to jumpstart America’s clean energy economy and create jobs by tackling climate impacts on the ground we’ve seen rancorous attacks against science and our ability to reduce carbon pollution.


There are at least seven, count ‘em seven, bills currently on the books within the Halls of Congress that take aim at our public health and economic well being by trying to gut the Clean Air Act and prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing laws that regulate dangerous carbon pollution. (Although the authors of those bills should probably take a listen to their own constituents) 


Industry lobbyists and their allies on Capitol Hill claim, as they did decades ago during the creation of the Clean Air Act, that the costs of these regulations would cripple the economy and kill jobs. However, the facts clearly point to the contrary. Industry cost estimates for past regulations were grossly exaggerated, and instead of hurting our economy actually kick started waves of technological innovation. Just last week Reps. Waxman and Rush released a new report from the EPA highlighting the clear public health and economic benefits from the Clean Air Act. Additional analyses further explain why polluters’ claims aren’t based in fact.


Further eroding the polluters’ claims is the fact that the very same EPA regs that polluters are decrying could actually create nearly 1.5 million jobs.


Just to step back a second, it should come as no surprise that those attacking our ability to breathe clean air and have a strong clean-energy economy would be blind to cold hard facts. After all, these are the same special interests and representatives who attack and ignore science, and benefit from the polluting status-quo.


With all of this nonsense taking place in Washington, D.C., it’s good to know that some states are taking climate change seriously. You read here about Iowa stepping up to the climate plate. And they aren’t alone.  Recently Wisconsin  and Washington took important steps forward to addressing carbon pollution and climate impacts. However helpful these reports may be though, meaningful action must ramp up in communities across the country if we are to dramatically reduce heat-trapping pollution and keep our communities and wildlands resilient in a warming world.


There are many little things that you can do to help fight climate change.  You’ve already switched out your old light bulbs for modern energy efficient compact fluorescents, right?  Now that you’ve changed light bulbs, it’s time to change minds on Capitol Hill. That’s the only way we have a fighting chance at beating back the anti-science, anti-health, anti-innovation machine running rampant in Washington.

Follow JP on Twitter @twsjp

Paul J Everett


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

Yeah, but what always astounds me, is that the repubs and their children have to breathe the same air that we lesser mortals do, so unless they plan to spend their millions on a "boy in the bubble" type apparatus (nice living), how do they expect to escape the consequences of their lousy legislation?

Julianna D.
Juliana D6 years ago


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

I always wonder, since Dems don't have a corner on brains, and some repubs must be intelligent, educated, HOW can they keep lying? Some are stupid, or ignorant of facts they SHOULD have researched, since they're making policy, but others KNOW that human-produced climate change is real. The reason I wonder, is, they have children and care about their futures, so why do they risk their own children's lives and futures?, even if they don't care about humanity at large. It's not as if their money can insulate their children from the air they breathe! It's baffling to me.

I guess my real concern is: how can anyone with a brain be a republican? They're on the wrong side of history. They can only be against workers so long, and then you have no workers, no economy, no country, from which to make the money they're so ravenous to have. I always end up with my mouth hanging open, at the things they propose.

Linda M.

Thank you. Wow this got ppl talking!

Mila Lelwis
Mila Lelwis6 years ago

@ Paul B

I would recommend that you actually do a little reading for yourself rather than repeat the blatant lies of the morons who fill your head with false information.

The energy bill banning incandescent light bulbs was passed by Congress in December 2007.... WHILE BUSH WAS PRESIDENT!!!!

Do you people EVER check facts??? Oh, that's right, people like you believe invent your own reality and blame everything on Obama.

Read more: Congress bans incandescent bulbs

Paul B.
Paul B6 years ago

And how can you promote the new flourescent light bulbs when the pollution potential for these hazardous chemical bulbs could cause more harm than the pollution from the excess energy needed to run the standard incandescent bulb. Talk about Hypocrisy. Let's exchange a lot of mercury poisoning into our water tables rather than a little extra carbon emissions. We can handle the carbon more easily than the mercury.
AND... Obama bans incandescents, so GE closes their US plant, lays off lots of workers, then moves the plant to MExico and imports the same bulbs that were once made here. WHAT???? Did they make that law so GE could make even greater profits on the old bulbs. Hmmm. That whole new bulb thing is just one example of the stupidity the Greenies logic when it comes to 'climate change". I just don't get it... and I believe I am not alone.
BUT STILL THEY PRESS ONWARD... through the fog of misinformation. There is too much money invested to back down now I guess. We need to take a step back before it goes TOOOOO far.

Paul B.
Paul B6 years ago

The climate is always changing... DOH!!! What isn't happening is global warming, especially of the man-made kind. Everyone realizes the scam this was and still being perpetrated under this new term, "climate change". what is that anyway? The same thing that has been happening for the past billion years of earth's existence? Yes. stop the BS about regulating CO2, fossil fuels, etc. The NEW GREEN technology is a long way from being anywhere near efficient enough to replace existing energy technology. And when it is, it should come from the private sector. government regualtion of energy is a bad thing. It puts way too much control in the hands of a few... a few who have proven that they are as corrupt or more than any corporation we ahve ever had. GE is raking in the government dollars. The left crucified Haliburton, but if you look closely at the deals GE has received, you will see that goes even deeper then anything seen before.
Pollution I am against. Our water, oceans, and air cleanliness is important, but not such that it restricts economic growth or unfairly promtoes one business over another. Government wants more rules to pick winners and losers in society. That is wrong. Reconsider what we should and shouldn't regulate, under these concepts and I am sure we can find a MUCH BETTER SOLUTION.

Svetlana Petrova
Claire Claire6 years ago


M.E. W.
Mary W6 years ago

Apparently Congress actually does represent us. Americans seem to be more interested in their guns, cheap goods, fast food, and the myriad of entertainment options than their own health and the health of the planet.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley6 years ago

If the EPA does their job properly it will make irresponsible companies look for better solutions instead of ruining the environment for everybody now and in the future. We've got to start accepting responsibility for our actions, and so have firms and governments.