GOP insincerity shows when it comes to the environment

Republicans have rejected every single jobs measure since President Obama has been in office. They won the 2010 elections by saying they would cut spending, but they failed to mention a single specific program. Now, they are claiming that those programs, which win majority approval in every poll, are “job killers.” The GOP agenda favors Wall Street to the detriment of the nation’s needs. The Republican Party jobs program would work if we were willing to sacrifice our environment and our health, but most of us are not so willing; private sector jobs are important, but our democratic rights are more important.

Republicans, claiming concern for job loss, oppose regulations that are good for the country. Three of the Republican presidential candidates would severely weaken the EPA; each of the others would destroy it. Mitt Romney believes that the EPA should not regulate carbon emissions since he does not think “carbon is a pollutant in the sense of harming our bodies.”

Rick Perry, who has taken $11 million from the oil and gas industries since 1998, would put polluters in charge of the EPA: “I’ll tell you one thing: The EPA officials we have an opportunity to put in place, they’re going to be pro-business, and there’s not going to be any apologies to anybody about it. Those agencies won’t know what hit ’em.”

John Huntsman, a heavy investor in his family’s Huntsman Corporation, said that the EPA is guilty of “gross regulatory overreach,” and promised to “dramatically rein in the EPA” if elected.

Herman Cain says that he would eliminate the EPA because “it’s out of control. Newt Gingrich (“I fought guys like you in WWII” – Representative Sam Gibbons) said that he would scrap the EPA and its regulations and replace it with an Environmental Solutions Agency that rewards innovation.

And Ron Paul’s energy plan is to “eliminate the ineffective EPA. Polluters should answer to property owners in court for the damages they create – not to Washington.”

According to a recent EPA Report, with extensive review and input from Council on Clean Air Analysis, the 1990 Clean Air Act, which reduced fine particle and ground level ozone pollution, will provide $2 trillion in economic benefits and save 230,000 people from early death in 2020. “The Clean Air Act’s decades-long track record of success has helped millions of Americans live healthier, safer, and more productive lives,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. The 1990 Act, by preventing early death, heart attacks, and asthma attacks, and reducing the number of sick days for employees far exceed costs of implementing clean air protections. The EPA adds, “These benefits lead to a more productive workforce, and enable consumers and businesses to spend less on health care – all of which help strengthen the economy.”

Private sector jobs are important, but government regulations that protect our environment, and physical and financial health, are more important (plus, the EPA and other regulatory agencies are sources of new jobs).

The EPA is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. In 2010 alone, The EPA prevented more than 160,000 cases of early deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, 1.7 million asthma attacks, and 13 million lost work days.

The Clean Air Act protects us from cholera diseases that, in the past, plagued the country. In the middle of the 19th century, at the start of the U.S. industrial revolution, the factory pollution resulted in numerous deaths from typhoid fever, typhus, and cholera epidemics. If the Republicans succeed in closing down EPA rules and regulations, they would have driven the nation back more than 150 years.

When the EPA shuts down coal mines, the GOP pretends to go to the defense of jobless workers. However, if Republicans were sincere, they would call for green jobs and for extending and increasing unemployment benefits. They are not only insincere, but they ignore life-threatening health problems. Pollution due to burning coal (and oil) cuts short lives. A vote for the GOP is not a vote for ending future tragedies.

Photo: Progress Ohio // CC 2.0