New Congress Wastes No Time Undoing Climate Progress

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We all knew that the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives wasn’t going to be friendly to the environment, but none of us expected the fight to start so soon. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich), the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced today that his committee will be taking on the EPA with gusto.

In a document making its rounds among Republican lawmakers, Upton claims that the EPA has put a “chokehold” on businesses by regulating their emissions and pollution. The Hill obtained a copy of the document titled “Key Issues before the Committee on Energy and Commerce 112th Congress [PDF], which contains the following:

“We believe it critical that the Obama administration ‘stop’ imposing its new global warming regulatory regime, which will undermine economic growth and U.S. competitiveness for no significant benefit…The EPA is regulating too much too fast without fully analyzing the feasibility and economic and job impacts of the new rules.”

Upton and his colleagues are working to dismantle the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, which was granted to them by a Supreme Court ruling that stated that carbon was, in fact, a greenhouse gas. The energy industry was strongly opposed to this ruling, as it would hinder their ability to pollute without consequence, and reducing their emissions would take a small percentage off of their bottom line. And since Upton’s number one campaign donor is the energy industry, he’s not going to waste any time to grant their wishes.

The EPA is still in the process of outlining their new guidelines to deal with climate change, and regulations have been slow to begin. Businesses are currently sitting on record amounts of cash, and salaries and bonuses for executive once again beating the records set in pre-recession years, it is both irresponsible and completely untrue to blame the current jobs crisis on environmental regulations.

But Upton’s crusade against the environment wasn’t the only big climate news coming from DC today. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced today that his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which he is the chairman, will not be investigating the so-called “Climategate” scandal, even after pledging a full review of the “issue” a few months back. Issa has recently found himself in an unwanted spotlight, as media has picked up on reports that he was frequently arrested during his late twenties for stealing cars; has at least one arrest for possessing an unregistered handgun; and was suspected of insurance fraud and arson a few years ago. With all of the attention he’s been receiving, I have to assume that he didn’t want to draw more attention to himself with a phony investigation into a conservative-created “scandal.”

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

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