In a meeting with Tea Party activists, former Republican Speaker of the House and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was nothing more than “a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices.” Gingrich was discussing with the group the best way to go about lowering gas and heating oil prices for American consumers, both of which he blamed squarely on President Obama. He also pitched the idea that the United States needed to lift bans on unconventional oil extraction, ignoring the potential consequences of that particular fuel source.
This is not the first time that Gingrich has seized an opportunity to go after the EPA. Back in January, he told the Associated Press that, if president, he would completely abolish the agency. In its place, he would create a new organization that works with businesses to help draft “friendly” environmental policies. Gingrich went on to describe how he views the EPA: “What you have is a very expensive bureaucracy that across the board makes it harder to solve problems, slows down the development of new innovations.”
Gingrich has long fought against environmental protections, claiming that their only purpose is to hinder economic growth. In 2007, he co-authored the little-noticed “Contract With The Earth.” In that document, he declares that it is the God-given duty of mankind to help protect the environment. But rather than attacking the continued abuse of fossil fuels, as Salon points out, he claimed that the biggest hurdle facing meaningful environmental action are things like health and safety standards, taxes, and legislation.
While he’s not shy about paying lip service to our environmental challenges, he’s also working against every environmental protection instituted in the last few decades. His organization American Solutions launched the conservative “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” campaign back in 2008 when gas prices were spiking, in an effort to open up more areas of the country to oil drilling (even though supply and demand were never the problem, prices spiked due to Wall Street speculators). He has also declared that the Kyoto Protocol was bad for America and bad for the environment.
Gingrich is currently in 3rd place among potential Republican presidential candidates, according to the latest polls. And while he does his best to give the impression that he is concerned about our environment, the facts clearly refute his words.