"It No Longer Matters in Congress What Health Experts and Scientists Think": Henry Waxman (Video)


"All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries think."
Them's the key takeaways from a series of remarks given by Representative Henry Waxman, one of the chief architects of the climate bill that passed the House nearly two years ago (remember that thing?). In the video above, a fired-up Waxman unleashes his disdain for a political body that has chosen to side with the fossil fuel industry and to ignore the nation's health experts and scientists' warnings that particulate and carbon pollution should be swiftly reduced.
As you probably know, House Republicans are trying to pass a bill that would stymie the EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act, along with rolling back a number of other crucial environmental protections, like endangered species rulings and regulations preventing the unmitigated dumping of toxic waste. And as they've made a habit of doing recently, they've ignored the pleas of scientists and health experts who have written letters, testified, and urged Congress to let the EPA do its job.

Then, of course, there's Koch Industries, the villain du jour of Democrats and liberals everywhere. Yes, the Koch brothers are particularly activist when it comes to propagating Tea Party ambitions like slashing environmental regulations and shrinking government (actions that happen to benefit their company's bottom line), but it's important to remember that Koch Industries isn't some uniquely villainous entity. Like many others, the company is simply a product of a system skewed to favor companies that use cheap, polluting fuels, and that offers a monetary incentive to skirt environmental regulations -- as I like to say, the Kochs aren't villains; they're just really good at their jobs.

There are dozens (at least) of influential corporations whose businesses models benefit immensely from the ability to pollute freely in America. And of course they'll fight to retain that right -- it's in each of the companies' self-interest to do so. The Kochs may make a powerful lightening rod, with which to raise the ire of environmentalists (and they certainly deserve every inch of it), but let's remember this is a systemic problem -- and the Kochs are merely a couple of the powerful actors working to strip away the few environmental protections that shield natural habitats and public health from corporate operations.

Those powerful actors are the chief reason that "it no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists" recommend -- and instead, what would allow corporations to continue to conduct business as usual.

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