It’s almost as if we were looking at elected leaders from different countries. On the one hand, there’s President Obama, taking ambitious steps to address the climate crisis, and on the other hand, there are congressional Republicans, taking steps to gut the Environmental Protection Agency.
Asked the other day about his goals for the next Congress, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his top priority is “to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”
As Coral Davenport reported this week, GOP leaders are united behind a vision intended to undermine the public’s environmental safeguards.
At this point, Republicans do not have the votes to repeal the E.P.A. regulations, which will have far more impact on curbing carbon emissions than stopping the [Keystone] pipeline, but they say they will use their new powers to delay, defund and otherwise undermine them. Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, a prominent skeptic of climate change and the presumed new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is expected to open investigations into the E.P.A., call for cuts in its funding and delay the regulations as long as possible. […]Mr. McConnell signaled last week that he, too, wanted to cut the E.P.A.’s budget to keep it from enforcing environmental regulations. Republicans might also include provisions that would repeal the E.P.A. regulations in crucial spending bills – a tactic that could force a standoff between Mr. Obama and Mr. McConnell over funding the government.
When a third of the country showed up in the 2014 midterms, they may not have realized they were voting on whether to gut the environmental protections.
Rebecca Leber added:
Republicans have spent six years campaigning against President Barack Obama’s “war on coal” and promising to fight the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations. Now that Republicans have gained control of both chambers of Congress, they are in a position to declare war with the EPA.
It’s a fairly broad agenda, and Leber noted it’s likely to focus on fighting ozone reduction, limiting the Clean Water Act, and blocking as many environmental regulations as possible.
Take a deep breath, a Republican Congress is coming.