TreeHugger doesn’t usually cover politics (we would all burn out in a week) but the latest anti-environmental bill coming out of Congress cannot be ignored.
If it were not so serious, the bill to gut the EPA would be hilarious; it reads like it was written by petulant children. A lot of bills get proposed and just languish because they are silly but this one now has 120 backers, the “Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017, to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from exceeding its statutory authority in ways that were not contemplated by the Congress.” The first key section:
Congress finds that—(1) the Environmental Protection Agency has exceeded its statutory authority by promulgating regulations that were not contemplated by Congress in the authorizing language of the statutes enacted by Congress;
(2) the Environmental Protection Agency was correct not to classify greenhouse gases as pollutants prior to 2009;
(3) no Federal agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under current law; and
(4) no attempt to regulate greenhouse gases should be undertaken without further Congressional action.
So any talk of greenhouse gas by the EPA is over-reach, because of course climate change doesn’t exist or if it does, is not the fault of greenhouse gases, so the bill basically says that the EPA does not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases because according to the bill, they are not pollutants:
SEC. 3 CLARIFICATION OF FEDERAL REGULATORY AUTHORITY TO EXCLUDE GREENHOUSE GASES FROM REGULATION UNDER THE CLEAN AIR ACT.
This revises the current act to modify the definition of air pollutant:
The term ‘air pollutant’ does not include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfur hexafluoride.”.
So now they are legislating what is a pollutant. Perhaps we should fill congress with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and see what happens. And as for hydrofluorocarbons, let’s stop regulating them, which has been done since the Montreal Protocol of 1989 which slowed the destruction of the ozone layer. It sounds like this bill would let us put Freon back in our fridges and air conditioners; perhaps we should sit congress out on a sunny beach without sunscreen for a couple of hours.
It continues not just with the EPA but makes any discussion or regulation of climate change illegal in the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and more.
This goes beyond climate denial, it basically is science denial. It is evidently doing so well because they realize that it will be hard to totally kill the EPA, so they will just gut it, issue by issue.
Oh wait, there’s more!
SEC. 4. JOBS ANALYSIS FOR ALL EPA REGULATIONS.
Before proposing or finalizing any regulation, rule, or policy, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall provide an analysis of the regulation, rule, or policy and describe the direct and indirect net and gross impact of the regulation, rule, or policy on employment in the United States. No regulation, rule, or policy described in subsection (a) shall take effect if the regulation, rule, or policy has a negative impact on employment in the United States unless the regulation, rule, or policy is approved by Congress and signed by the President.
So basically, a guy could be carrying buckets of poison and dumping them in the Hudson River but if he was going to lose his job because he was stopped, it has to be signed by the President.
It is interesting that this bill is doing so well before the new head of the EPA is even confirmed by congress, and he might have something to say about it, perhaps that it is not strong enough. One might have thought they would have waited to see what he was going to do. Or perhaps they are just making a statement and it will go nowhere. The Daily Kos writes:
The bill has been referred to seven House committees although none has yet taken it up. And even if the bill passes in the House, it likely would be filibustered in the Senate with all Democrats and maybe some moderate Republicans opposing it. But just as with Jason Chaffetz’s public lands grab bill [TreeHugger here] that he withdrew due to public opposition, the time to speak up against this bill is now, before it begins the process of moving through committees to a House vote.
Killing the EPA entirely will be hard, but this one might slip through.