Today, the 114th United States Congress officially began, with Republicans seizing both chambers of Congress. The GOP has already established a game plan, dismantle any progress the president has ever made in addressing climate change, reported The Huffington Post.
Primary in the Repubs playbook is pushing the Keystone XL pipeline with everything they have and dismantling Obama’s environmental rules designed to curb carbon emissions. The Keystone pipeline bill has passed the GOP-controlled House several times. However, the bill always stalled in the Senate because the Democrats were the majority.
Now that the GOP has both chambers, the bill is likely to pass through Congress to Obama’s desk. However, the White House has threatened to veto the Keystone pipeline bill. Tomorrow, a Senate committee led by GOPers will hold a hearing about the pipeline.
“The president is going to see the Keystone XL pipeline on his desk and it’s going to be a bellwether decision by the president whether to go with jobs and the economy,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
The economy and jobs have been the go-to argument for Republicans who support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the destruction of Obama’s emission rules, which call for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. According to Republicans, job creation will be devastated.
Reduction in carbon emissions would lessen the use of coal, but it would open up the opportunity for alternative energies to flourish. Also, the Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs, but those jobs are temporary and only needed for the pipeline’s construction. Once complete, the Keystone pipeline will only require 50 people to continuously operate and monitor it.
President Obama recently spoke up about his position on the Keystone pipeline and noted that it would be of no real benefit for Americans.
“It’s very good for Canadian oil companies, and it’s good for the Canadian oil industry but it’s not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers, it’s not even going to be a nominal benefit to U.S. consumers,” said Obama late in December.
As far as the amended EPA emission rules, Republicans could block money needed to implement the EPA changes with defunding bills. The GOP could also directly attack the EPA changes by invoking the Congressional Review Act which “enables such resolutions to pass the Senate with a simple majority vote, meaning Democrats couldn’t filibuster.”
Republicans have surely perfected the art of screwing up things. Their targeting of important environmental policy designed to offset increasing climate change is emblematic of that. It just might get a little worse before it gets better.