Just one week after the midterm elections, an all out assault on the EPA has begun… This is what we get for not voting

Just after winning reelection a little over a week ago, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell announced that his top priority would be to “rein in” the EPA. That’s right, the incoming Senate Majority Leader, when telling his constituents what he intended to do with his newfound power, didn’t mention the fighting for the middle class, or fighting against the likes of ISIS, but his intention to defund and limit the power of the Environmental Protection Agency, the organization charged with making sure that our water is drinkable and our air breathable.

chrisstewartepaAnd it looks as though he’s not alone in his desire to cripple the agency on behalf of America’s oil and gas industry. Just yesterday, the House passed H.R. 1422, better known as the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2014, in a vote of 229 to 191. The legislation, if it were to be passed by the Senate, and signed into law, would essentially make it illegal for scientists to provide testimony in support of the EPA. That’s right. According to Salon.com, “experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research — the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest.” Or, in the words of Andrew A. Rosenberg, the director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.” [Republican Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah, a co-sponsor of can be seen sponsor of H.R. 1422, can be seen in the photo above, on the floor of the House, arguing in favor of the bill.]

Thankfully, it doesn’t look as though the H.R. 1422 will make it to the President’s desk anytime soon, as the Senate does not have plans to introduce similar legislation. And, even if they did, President Obama has said that he would veto it. Still, though, I think it’s a good indicator of what we might expect over the next few years.

For what it’s worth, some of our elected officials are fighting back. Democratic Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, for instance, had the following to say to his Republican colleagues in the run up to the vote on H.R. 1422. “I get it, you don’t like science,” McGovern said. “And you don’t like science that interferes with the interests of your corporate clients. But we need science to protect public health and the environment.”

Sadly, though, thinking Americans didn’t care enough about issues like this to turn out at the polls in significant numbers during the midterm elections. And, as a result, instead of focusing for the next several years on things that really matter, like decreasing our dependence on petroleum, and building our alternative energy capacity, we’re going to be spending our time swatting down these back door attempts to defund the EPA and silence our scientific community. It’s absolutely sickening. But it’s not at all a surprise, given that we live in a country where a climate change denier like Jim Inhofee, who has said on the floor of the Senate that “global warming is a hoax” and compared the EPA to the Gestapo, could lead the Senate Committee on the Environment.

It seems to me that it would have been a hell of a lot easier to have beaten back these anti-science corporatists at the ballot box, as opposed to in the street, especially given that they own the police and the media. But we have no choice at this point… Inhofe just recently said, “I will do everything in my power to rein in and shed light on the EPA’s unchecked regulations,” and we need to be prepared to do the same to oppose him. We need to do everything in our power to rein in his power and protect the EPA. It won’t be pretty, but we’ve got to be in the streets for the next two years, fighting our asses off. And, in November 2016, we need to do what needs to be done at the polls. There are no unimportant elections anymore. And, contrary to what you may think, there really is a difference between our two parties.

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  1. Bob
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Kind of a critical typo: “Republican Senator Mitch McConnell announced that his top priority wouldn’t be to ‘reign in’ the EPA.”

  2. John Galt
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    There is no distinction between the EPA and ISIS. Both are terrorist organizations that hate us for our freedom.

  3. D'Real
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    “25% of people worldwide still get fecally contaminated water.” -vs- “Since 2010, the United Nations resolution established that access to clean water and sanitation to be a human right.”

  4. anonymous
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Not sure what article you followed, Bob, but here’s what the article linked to says.

    “On Thursday, incoming Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell said that when it comes to serving his home state, his top priority is ‘to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.'”

  5. site admin
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Bob was correct at the time that he posted, anonymous. The word “wouldn’t” was used instead of “would.” The post has since been been changed to reflect the fact that McConnell’s priority IS to destroy the EPA.

  6. idea man
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    All elected officials should be forced not only to send their kids to public school, but to live on the Keystone Pipeline and drink tap water from within a five mile radius of a tracking facility. If we did that, there would be huge, immediate change.

  7. Posted November 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Such interesting insights.

  8. Posted November 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for contributing toward the conversation, Pete. Your insights are invaluable.

  9. Kristin
    Posted November 24, 2014 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    And what’s to become of the Waters of the United States rule?

  10. Meta
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    “Senator Jim Inhofe: Climate Change A Grand Conspiracy Perpetrated By Barbra Streisand”

    Read the article:

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