Current GOP Is “Party of Science Deniers,” Waxman Says

During a speech at the Center for American Progress Action Fund on Monday, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) came out swinging against Republican climate science denial and political attacks against the Clean Air Act. 

Waxman told the crowd, “it apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries think.”

Rep. Waxman’s frank assessment of the state of political attacks on science in the age of the Koch Congress should garner some interesting responses at today’s House Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations,” where the GOP majority is sure to belittle climate science and ignore the urgent need to cut global warming pollution, yet again. 

The former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee prior to the Koch-fueled Tea Party takeover in November, Rep. Waxman told the CAPAF audience:

“I’ve never been in a Congress where there was such an overwhelming disconnect between science and policy…”

“Republicans in Congress have become the party of science deniers, and that is profoundly dangerous…”

“The gulf between what science tells us and what the governing party in the House believes makes it difficult to find common ground…”

Waxman’s comments also follow on the heels of the introduction of the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), in the House by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and in the Senate by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), an anti-science effort designed to strip the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mandate to use the Clean Air Act to curb carbon pollution and protect lives.  This climate zombie-fueled legislative attack directly defies the Supreme Court’s decision upholding EPA’s mandate.

With science denial taking deep root in the U.S. GOP, seasoned lawmakers like Rep. Waxman are becoming increasingly frustrated by dangerous Republican efforts to ignore science when it comes to responding to the critical threat of climate change. And the root cause of much of the partisan disconnect stems from Koch Industries extensive financial backing of anti-science lawmakers, as Waxman stated succinctly:

“Science denial, partisanship, and the rising power of special interests are deeply intertwined,” Waxman said, “and they feed off each other.” He explained the vicious circle fueled by Koch Industries, the private petrochemical conglomerate, and the Republican Party. “Koch Industries benefits immensely from the rollback of EPA regulations, so it backs Republican candidates who advocate this position. And it funds groups that attack science and it organizes anti-regulation demonstrations. Republican strategists see a partisan advantage in attacking efforts to address climate change, so that leads to a growing acceptance of science denial.”

Although clearly angered at the Republicans’ current attacks on science-based policymaking, Waxman did extend an invitation to the GOP to resume relying on science to shape policy solutions.  His three recommendations include: preserving carbon emission regulations, educating the public on the very real dangers from climate change, and building bi-partisan consensus to secure the country’s energy future and to respond to mounting environmental problems.

Head over to The Wonk Room to read more and watch a video of Waxman’s remarks.

Tune into the climate science hearing Tuesday morning at 10:00am EST to find out what the Republicans have to say about Rep. Waxman’s comments, and more.