U.S. Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio is, rightfully, taking a lot of criticism for his statement during the 2nd Republican debate that “America is not a planet.” This is actually the only factual statement that Rubio made about climate change during the debate, but the actual point that he was trying to make was that America cannot be the only country acting on climate change if we expect to fix the problem.
What Rubio and so many other politicians claim to want is a broad, global coalition of countries working together to address the threats of climate change. But that’s just a campaign talking point. The truth is that Republican candidates do not want to see the U.S. taking any role in reducing our carbon emissions, and their actions in Washington prove it.
In spite of the fact that they’ve only been back at work for two weeks since their August recess, the Republican-controlled Legislative Branch of the U.S. government has been moving at a break-neck speed to undermine both the EPA’s carbon emissions standards and the actual agency itself.
The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a measure that would delay implementation of the new power plant rules from the EPA, but the Senate has yet to take up the measure in full. A move is expected in coming months.
However, Republicans in both Chambers have admitted that the plan is a fool’s errand, as any legislation that dismantles the new regulations would be quickly vetoed by President Obama. But that hasn’t stopped them from wasting time trying to pass a symbolic piece of legislation.
Furthermore, as Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield points out, the Republican Party in Washington, D.C. is too dysfunctional at this moment to secure enough support from both the public and from within the Party to actually allow the measure to move forward.
But the lack of cohesion among the Party itself is an issue that the fossil fuel industry’s noise machine is hoping to overcome. The Heritage Foundation has taken the lead in trumpeting the alleged dangers of the EPA’s carbon emissions standards, claiming that the plan is going to raise energy prices, destroy jobs, and inhibit economic growth. However, all of these talking points have been thoroughly debunked, and the plan will actually lower energy prices, create more jobs than are projected to be lost, and spur economic growth.
The attacks on the agency’s proposals are small potatoes right now, though, and some Republicans are hoping to completely dismantle the EPA’s leadership.
GOP Representative Paul Gosar, the recipient of more than $190,000 from the energy industry, has introduced a resolution to impeach EPA Chief Gina McCarthy. While short on specific details, Gosar states the following in his resolution: Regina McCarthy, while Administrator of the United 18 States Environmental Protection Agency, made false statements before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives on July 9, 21 2015 in violation of Section 1001 of Title 18, United States Code.
Gosar did go on to imply that his resolution is referring to the EPA’s recent announcement that, under their power granted by the Clean Water Act, they would be regulating runoff and contamination of small bodies of water including wetlands and streams on private property.
While Rep. Gosar’s impeachment papers are laughable, they are a prime example of the Republican Party’s ongoing assault on environmental protections. But as we pointed out earlier this week, this isn’t the best route to go heading into an election year, and this continued attack on both climate change action and the regulators trying to clean up the planet isn’t going to win the Republican Party any additional votes in next year’s elections.