House GOP Bill Will Prevent EPA From Doing Its Job

February 02, 2011 10:34 am ET — Kate Conway

In another example of the right's growing hostility towards science, House Republicans are planning on introducing a bill today to divest the Environmental Protection Agency of its Supreme-Court-upheld authority to regulate greenhouse gases. In addition, the Associated Press reports that Senate Republicans have introduced several pieces of legislation intended to throw a wrench in efforts to address global warming:

In a sharp challenge to the Obama administration, House Republican leaders intend to unveil legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases, officials said. They expect to advance the bill quickly.

EPA chief Lisa Jackson was due on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for the first time since Republicans took over the House and gained seats in the Senate. She probably will have to defend steps by the EPA to control air pollution and water pollution to Senate Republicans, who have introduced bills of their own to delay regulations aimed at abating climate change, or to bar the government from using any environmental law to fight global warming pollution.

Officials said the House bill, which was to be offered Wednesday, would nullify all of the steps the EPA has taken to date on the issue, including a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health.

In addition, it seeks to strip the agency of its authority to use the law in any future attempts to crack down on the emissions from factories, utilities and other stationary sources.

There's such strong agreement that human activity has contributed to an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association says that "there is no scientific debate on this point." Yet congressional Republicans have managed to turn the consensus of the "vast majority of the world's active climate scientists" into a political debate that gives credence to a scientifically meritless position.

"These Republican efforts are as misguided as they are dangerous," Steve Benen points out. "Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act, and told the agency to enforce regulations. The Supreme Court concluded in 2007 that the EPA has the authority to act to regulate greenhouse gases. Now, Republicans are intent on making sure EPA can't exercise its own powers, all because the right doesn't understand global warming."