Photo credit: Señor Codo via Fotopedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Who needs that dumb ol' EPA anyways? All it ever did was enforce the Clean Air Act, drastically reduce air and water pollution, save tens of thousands of lives annually, prevent an untold number of cases of respiratory illnesses, and generally make the United States a more pleasant, healthier, and cleaner place to live. So naturally, some senators have decided that we don't need it anymore, and are pushing a bill that would dissolve it into the Department of Energy. None other than John McCain, onetime climate action proponent and generally reasonable man, has joined the effort. Remember, John McCain is the guy who had this to say about climate policy, just four years ago:
Price carbon emissions and force industry to reign in carbon pollution? What a grand idea! Pretty tough to imagine that a man with such a sensible view of climate change would not only come out against doing every single one of the things he outlined in the video above, but then go further, and advocate for tearing down the agency responsible for the nation's achievements in pollution reduction thus far. And yet ...
Here's the Hill with the details:
Over a dozen Senate Republicans led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are pushing a plan that would merge the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency into one department ... Burr's 15 co-sponsors include Sens. Jim Demint (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as several freshmen such as Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and John Boozman (R-Ark.)It's pure, cynical politics -- the Tea Party right hates the EPA, as they equate it with monolithic government regulation, and this is a ploy to appeal to that disdain. And once-moderate politicians like McCain are hopping on the bandwagon.
It's also based on falsehoods -- the EPA and the DOE are entirely different entities, with entirely different priorities. There are no "duplicative functions", as the GOP insists -- the physicist and 5-year DOE employee Jomm Romm explains this articulately in a post over at Climate Progress. Both agencies are already under-funded. To merge them, while effectively slashing the budget of both, could be disastrous.