Republican senators warned President Obama on Monday that he cannot require federal agencies to consider the impact their actions have on climate change. The thirty-two Republican senators, led by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), discouraged the administration from including greenhouse gas emissions in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, which “requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations in their planning and decision-making.”
The senators sent a letter to the Chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality alerting her of their fear of regulating greenhouse gas emissions through NEPA, calling it “a backdoor method.” The senators masked their fear of emissions supervision under the guise of, “… using the NEPA process will cause significant delays in permitting projects and slow our nation’s economic recovery.”
It is interesting that a group of Republicans is suddenly so concerned with our nation’s economic recovery… As Working Economics reported earlier this year, the GOP has consistently “sought to block measures that a wide swath of economists agreed would provide help to boost the economy and bring down unemployment.”
Specifically, they have objectively weakened the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), repeatedly filibustered routine extensions of emergency unemployment benefits, blocked aid to state governments, filibustered infrastructure investment, used extreme legislative vehicles like refusing to follow precedent on the typically pro forma votes to raise the debt ceiling to extract more economically damaging government spending cuts, blocked passage of a majority of the American Jobs Act (AJA), demanded counterproductive offsets to fiscal stimulus, and attacked the Federal Reserve’s expansion of the monetary base and other policy responses intended to lower unemployment.
In fact, the GOP has taken a purposefully obstructionist stance on everything Obama has proposed. But it’s clear that these senators are not concerned with delayed projects or our nation’s economic recovery. They are simply interested in protecting the industry, not the environment.
Sen. Vitter, Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is funded by the oil and gas industry, and earlier this year proposed legislation to expand domestic oil and gas development. Signatory John Cornyn (R-TX) has been described as “one of Big Oil’s ten favorite members of Congress,” and the list goes on.
Furthermore, to accept that government agencies should consider their impact on climate change would be to admit that anthropogenic climate change is an issue, when, according to the right, it is clearly a left-wing media hoax.
Alisha Mims is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.