Let's Issue a Recall On Defective Congress For Failing to Stop Deadly Climate Change

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Earlier this year, Blue Bell ice cream issued a mandatory recall of all of its ice cream products after a string of deaths from the bacteria Listeria had been linked directly to their products.  Similarly, when a blockbuster drug is found to be defective and begins killing consumers, the FDA will force the pharmaceutical company to pull the drug from the market.

Given the protocol here, I want to propose that we recall the Legislative Branch of our government for allowing American citizens to die by refusing to take action against climate change.

President Obama has been beating the drum fairly loudly these last 6 months about the threats posed to American citizens from rising global temperatures, yet Congress has refused to pass a single piece of legislation that would help negate the effects of climate change, or any legislation that would help American citizens prepare for climate change.  As a result, people in the United States are dying.

Just last week, 17 people in the state of Texas and 6 in Oklahoma were killed as a result of extreme weather that experts tell us to expect more of as a result of climate change.

While no legislation could have prevented these deaths, the complete lack of any kind of response plan or public assistance to help relocate those in the path of climate change disasters represents an abject failure of the federal government.

And rather than addressing the issue of climate change, our Republican-controlled legislative branch of government has instead decided that the best thing to do would be to make the problem worse.

Republicans are attempting to, as they put it, rein in the Obama administration’s proposals to help protect U.S. citizens from industrial pollution.  After the recent EPA proposal that would have protected the drinking water of more than 117 million people in America, telling us that the proposal is an act of government overreach that could lead to government authority over puddles and ditches.

The talking points are always the same.  Republicans, led by Senator Shelley Capito of West Virginia, claim that these new health and safety standards are anti-business job killers that are a threat to American capitalism. 

To put the Senator’s statements a little more clearly, these new standards will make it harder for corporations to take the easy, cheap road and poison our water supply, so it isn’t worth saving lives if it costs a company a few extra dollars to make their waste products safe.

It is worth nothing that the mining industry – an industry that would be affected by this new rule – has given Senator Capito close to one million dollars in campaign contributions over the course of her career.

The new clean water rules are not the only ones under attack from the Republican-controlled Congress; they also want to tackle Obama administration proposals that would reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants; scale back limits on smog levels that would have reduced yearly hospitalizations and deaths from asthma and other respiratory diseases; and, as always, they want to open up every coast and every piece of federal land for dirty energy exploration.

As we continue to move forward without any federal laws regarding climate change on the record and with one of our two major political parties fighting every executive action to actually help save American lives, the death toll is going to continue to rise. 

And that is why it is time to issue a full-scale, mandatory recall of our elected officials.

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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