Elimination of Environmental Protection Agency Central to GOP Presidential Hopefuls

The mantra of the House Republican led Energy and Commerce Committee has been to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.  Barring that, the Republican leadership (Fred Upton (MI), Chair, Joe Barton (TX), Ed Whitfield (KY), John Shimkus (IL) and Cliff Sterns (FL)) vow to do away with as many, what they call ‘onerous’, EPA regulations as possible.   Lisa Jackson, the head of EPA and other EPA officials have been called to testify before various committees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee so many times, they could almost call 2123 Rayburn, House Energy and Commerce Hearing Room, their second home. 

These actions have kept wily Democratic members of the Committee such as Congressmen Henry Waxman (CA), Ed Markey (MA), and John Dingell on the defensive for much of the past year.

Much of the legislation, aimed at EPA regulations have passed through the committee and will eventually pass the House.  This legislation will likely fail in the Senate.  Conference Committee can result in compromise which will have some negative effect on EPA’s regulatory authority.

The GOP Presidential candidates have taken up the same Anti-EPA mantra.  Texas Governor Rick Perry is probably the most vocal in his opposition to EPA environmental regulations and called for an immediate moratorium on environmental regulation. Prayer, not regulations, is the answer according to Perry.  Last year, his administration filed suit against EPA to block the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.  He fought EPA to defend his state’s ‘flexible’ air pollution permits for oil and gas refineries. 

Michelle Bachman has been quoted as say she “wants to padlock the EPA’s doors".  To her, the EPA is the evil heavy handed regulatory agenda of the Obama Administration. 

Mitt Romney is backing away from his earlier position as Governor to capture carbon and find solutions for reduced emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. 

Because of the exceptionally weak economy, the GOP is using their EPA bashing rhetoric to erroneously link environmental regulation to jobs and the economy by suggesting that we cannot afford measures that impose greater costs on business and consumers.  Michelle Bachman called the EPA the “job-killing organization of America” 

There is simply no evidence that the Environmental Protection Agency has eliminated any jobs in our country.  If anything, listening to the GOP talk about the aggressive EPA, one might think that EPA, itself, has employed thousands just to impose ‘onerous’ regulations on our business. 

This anti EPA rhetoric may work well in the Republican primary, but it probably will not play in a general election.  Most polls will show that the American people are concerned about air and water pollution and want more clean energy.