Rep. Gingrey On The EPA: "Why Don't We Just Send Those Yo-Yos Home?"

August 30, 2011 2:11 pm ET — Alan Pyke

When Fox News host Greta van Susteren suggested last night that America might be better served by a moratorium on new regulations than by the GOP's quest to repeal existing EPA rules, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) didn't quite agree.

While saying he 'loves' the idea of a moratorium, Gingrey didn't back off from the deregulation push, quipping that we should send every EPA employee home for two years of paid leave. "Why don't we just send those yoyos home for about two years with pay?" Gingrey mused. According to Gingrey, that would "let this economy get motivated...and start creating some jobs."

"I don't think the country's going to go to hell in a handbasket in the meantime because of pollution of the air, water, or land," he added.

GINGREY: You know, the EPA, of course, created back in 1970, and supposedly employing many scientists and folks that know what they're doing, some 17,000 of them with a current budget today of $20 billion, I was thinking about this on the way down to the studio tonight. Why don't we just send those yoyos home for about two years with pay and I think we'd be doing a lot better off if we would do that and let this economy get motivated and let's get out of the station and start creating some jobs. And I don't think the country's going to go to hell in a handbasket in the meantime because of pollution of the air, water or land. [...]

VAN SUSTEREN: But what I'm saying is that in recognition of the fact that we really are in an economic crisis. There are many Americans hurting and to try to sort of avoid a war, and I see the fight right now over the regulations. If there's some sort of way where we could just put the fight on told for two years while we try to rev the economy up. I don't even know if that's the least bit practical. Might even be not practical at all.

GINGREY: Well, Greta, I think it is practical, and I'm all in favor of that.

Watch:

Meanwhile, in the real world, Exxon's spilling oil into the Yellowstone River. Texans worry their state is turning into a dustbowl. Coal companies are lopping the tops off of mountains, and depositing the toxic byproducts of their destructive practices into the streams that supply potable water to much of the heartland. And the Gulf of Mexico is still recovering from the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher, a manmade disaster caused by Halliburton's and BP's negligence.

While the EPA is a favorite target for anti-regulation zealots, the realities of the agency's work just don't square with Gingrey's claims. You've got to be willfully ignorant of the environmental impact of unfettered profit-seeking to think that putting the EPA in mothballs is a good idea, or even a funny one.

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