New, Wacky Ideas From the Most Anti-Environment Congress in History

A quick look at the amendments and policy riders attached to the appropriations bills now pending in the House makes it crystal clear that the GOP is desperately trying to eliminate every single environmental law ever passed or decided by a court.

The radically anti-environmental antics of the Energy and Commerce Committee have not gone far enough for some representatives, so they have taken to sneaking major national policy decisions into what Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA, ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee) called today “truly wacky amendments to to the 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.”

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Some of these are just kooky.

1. Preventing the use of funds for climate change research (Rep. Scott, R-GA)

2. Prohibiting agencies from agencies from buying compact fluorescent light bulbs (Rep. Rep. Blackburn, R-TN)

3. Eliminate funding for the Energy Star program, which identifies energy efficient appliances for consumers (Fleming, R-LA)

4. Eliminate funding to enforce the Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Program (Rep. King, R-IA).

5. Bar funding to regulate stationary source greenhouse gases for two years (Rep. Stivers, R-OH)

(See Rep. Ed Markey’s post about 39 legislative riders at the Democrat’s Natural Resource Committee site, and Brad Johnson’s post today on ThinkProgress Green for more)

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Others raise serious public health concerns. Ranking Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush have written to Fred Upton (Letter to Chairman Upton) about 16 of these legislative riders.

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Where do folks like Rep. Austin Scott come up with such wise and useful cost-cutting measures, like eliminating climate research? Here’s how:

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Shimkus Tweet Reveals His Approach to Global Warming and Climate Science

We follow Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) on Twitter (@RepShimkus) because he is chairman of the the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, and serves on the Subcommittees on Energy and Power; Health; and Communications and Technology.
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And several times a day he tweets important legislative updates, as well as his energy and such as the following
This one came in late Saturday morning (7/16), and sums up in under 140 characters his approach to employing the best results from the scientific community to combat global climate change:
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Daniel 3:17 …our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O King.
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If you think Say What? is reading too much into this tweet, have a look at our earlier post that includes a video of his testifying at a congressional panel about climate change that Genesis reports God saying he would not destroy the earth again after The Flood, and the Bible is infallible word of God, so stop worrying about global warming. (Genesis 22:8, with chapter and verse included in the post below.)  Really, just chill already, climate scientists:

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click here for “What Me Worry? No Fear Here. God has It Covered”

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There’s More! Influential Senator Joins House Flat-Out Lie or Scandalous Incompetence

More on the report (and accompanying press release) from Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and three subcommittee chairs blasting Obama for Bush era EPA foreign grants.  No response yet to Rep. Henry Waxman’s call for a retraction because $21 million of the $27 million allegedly doled out in 2009-2010 is actually honoring grants made prior to 2009.

But never missing an opportunity for sometimes sophisticated demagoguery, influential Senator Jim (“The science on global warming is just not there”) Inhofe has released a video in which he rewrites the history of EPA spending.  Something he ought to know about, being ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and ts chairman from 2003 to 2007.

Flat-Out Lie or Scandalous Incompetence?

Fred Upton (Chair of House Energy & Commerce Committee) continued his campaign to gut the EPA with a particular attack that we hope was an intentional lie and act of grotesque political demagoguery. Because the prospect of it being an honest mistake is even scarier, indicating a scandalous level of incompetence coming from someone who heads such a huge (54 members) and hugely important legislative committee.

The short version: Upton and the chairs of three subcommittees issued a report blasting the Obama administration for EPA grants to foreign governments and organizations, claiming that millions of dollars are being wasted as the EPA has ramped up overseas handouts since the 2009 stimulus package.

The Upton report and the accompanying press release asserts that the EPA has awarded $27 million to other countries in 2009-2010.  The truth turns out to be that $21 million of that $27 million was initiated under the Bush administration. Could it be that one of the most powerful committees in Congress (its staff, its members, etc.) are unable to read a budget sheet and understand when agency grants are awarded and renewed (as in, who was President, who was EPA Administrator, etc.?).

In a letter from ranking democrat Henry Waxman to Upton on Monday (July 11), the details are explained, and a retraction of the report is requested. Some excerpts:

“Your report concludes that EPA has “intensified its foreign grants program, doling out over $27 million overseas” since February 17, 2009, which is the day the stimulus was signed into law” [Memorandum to Members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce from Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Majority Staff (June 27, 2011) (online at http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/PDFs/062711MajMem...].

“In a press release accompanying the release of the report, you state that EPA has “ramped up” foreign grants and done so “at an alarming rate.” [Committee on Energy and Commerce, Report Reveals EPA has Ramped Up Foreign Handouts, Sending Millions to China, Russia, and the United Nations Despite Record Deficits, Looming Debt Ceiling, and Soaring Unemployment (June 27, 2011)].

Your report asserts that EPA awarded $27 million in 65 foreign grants in 2009 and 2010.  In fact, the 38 grants initiated under the Bush administration account for $21 million of the $27 million obligated for these 65 grants.

“Far from “ramping up” grants to foreign governments, the Obama administration in most cases appears to be fulfilling grant commitments originally made during the previous administration. “

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A sign of how congress is working: The website of the official Committee on Energy and Commerce has been run in such a partisan manner by the GOP majority, it has led the democrats to launch their own, parallel website. Click here to visit it.

Compare this to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, run by the democratic majority.

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In this earlier FOX News coverage of “EPA’s Shady Foreign Grants” during the past 10 years, no mention is made of who was President for (and therefore appointed the Administrator of the EPA, or which party controlled the congressional purse strings at which points):

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As Deep Water Drilling Resumes in the Gulf, A Quick Look Back at the BP Gusher to Introduce our Leaders

As deep water drilling resumes in the Gulf, here is a quick introduction to Rep. Ralph Hall (House Science Committee Chairman) and Rep. Joe Barton (very influential member of member of the Energy and Commerce Committee).

Science Committee Chairman (yes, I know I keep repeating that he holds that position) Ralph Hall’s reaction to the BP oil disaster as it was unfolding:

“As we saw that thing bubbling out, blossoming out – all that energy, every minute of every hour of every day of every week – that was tremendous to me. That we could deliver that kind of energy out there – even on an explosion.”

Right. And some dead people and an ecological and economic catastrophe, too, amidst that bubbling and blossoming.

Click here for more.

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Smokey Joe Barton, as many of you will recall, was the congressman who apologized to BP executives for the way the government was treating BP after the explosion.  Specifically for the outrageous (?) idea that initial relief funds be set aside by BP.  As drilling of this type resumes, any change in liability laws for such accidents, or any real understanding yet of the magnitude of the economic and environmental impact of Deep Water Horizon?

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Special Interests? Oil and Gas $ to Joe Barton

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V.P. Biden’s response:

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In October of 2002, the Wall Street Journal described Barton as the “House GOP’s leading expert on energy policy.”  All the more remarkable if you have a look at our earlier post about his exchange with Energy Secretary Chu. If you have not watched this exchange, it is one of the things that made me think it might be worth blogging about where our political leaders stand on energy and climate policy.

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Rep. “Smokey Joe” Barton Brags About Baffling Nobel Laureate Chu With Simple Question About Where Oil Comes From

Representative Joe Barton’s office announced  that they had stumped the Nobel Prize winning Energy Secretary Steven Chu with a simple query about the science of energy: “How did all that oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean?”
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“I seemed [sic] to have baffled the Energy Sec with basic question – Where does oil come from?” he hurriedly typed out on his TwitterBerry last night (or maybe it was one of his staff?). Barton was referring to his role as the highest-ranking Republican on the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the fact that he put the final question to Steven Chu, the new US secretary of energy, during his appearance before the committee yesterday.

“Smokey” Joe Barton – who some bloggers have been keen to point out has been the recipient of $1,330,160 in “oil money” during his career – is evidently very pleased with himself as he believes that his killer question “baffled” the Nobel Prize-winning physicist and former professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology at Berkeley. Judge for yourself by watching the video below:

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Special Interests? Oil and Gas $ to Joe Barton

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What Me Worry? No Fear Here. God Has It Covered

Influential Rep. John Shimkus told the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in 2009 that he is not worried about global warming because Chapter 8, Verse 22 of the Book of Genesis says that “As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.” There was a Biblical promise that the earth would not be destroyed again after the flood.  Shimkus added, for emphasis, “‘I believe that is the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it is going to be for his creation.” So lighten up climate scientists — we’ll be fine.

One of my favorite features of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce website is the regularly posted inspirational Scripture Tweets from Rep. Shimkus.

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Special Interests? Oil and Gas $ to John Shimkus

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