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Are U.S. House Republicans confusing "Americans" with the "American Petroleum Institute" by cutting pollution protections?

Kids love clean air and support EPA

Recent polls confirm that Americans across the country and political spectrum actually do agree on at least one thing: that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should keep doing its job – and even do more – to set limits on air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, two influential groups feel differently than nearly seven in ten Americans on this issue: Republicans in the House of Representatives and the American Petroleum Institute, a powerful lobbying group representing the oil and gas industry.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the National Lung Association, who represent environmentalists and American lungs, respectively, each released public polls asking whether EPA scientists or Congress should make decisions about pollution limits. A key finding of the National Lung Association poll was that “voters overwhelmingly oppose Congressional action that impedes EPA from updating clean air standards [PPT].

At the same time, Congressional Republicans are claiming a mandate to cut funding for government programs like the EPA. House Republicans almost unanimously voted to prevent the EPA from doing its job – and specifically from enacting regulations on carbon emissions this year - by cutting EPA’s 2011 budget by $3 billion in the spending bill which passed the U.S. House on February 19, 2011. 

”This is about listening to our country, listening to the people who just elected this Congress to restore discipline with respect to our spending,” Frank Guinta (R-New Hampshire) said during the debate on the budget legislation. But to whom Republicans are listening should perhaps be up for debate.

On Factual Literacy and Media Responsibility In The Age Of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

This New York Times online editorial last week by Tim Egan, “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings,” says a lot about the need for literacy, respect for facts and rational thought all being important building blocks for democracy.  

Egan notes the “astonishing level of willful ignorance” evident among the public, thanks to the lies and distortions put forward “largely by design” by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, “aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.”

Egan correctly points out that this pattern is all too often seen on the subject of global warming:

“Climate-change denial is a special category all its own. Once on the fringe, dismissal of scientific consensus is now an article of faith among leading Republicans, again taking their cue from Limbaugh and Fox.” 

Read “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings” on The New York Times website. 

Ingraham vs. Gore; Half the Truth Is the Same as a Lie

During the May 1 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, talk-radio guest host Laura Ingraham used a well-known Republican tactic to smear Al Gore, former Vice President, climate activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Ingraham took only those parts of Gore’s Waxman-Markey testimony that supported her contention and ignored the rest.

Ingraham may consider this balanced reporting, but here in the real world we call this a convenient and highly unscrupulous oversight.

Gore’s testimony, from the April 24 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing (on the 2009 American Clean Energy and Security Act), clearly stated that “every penny” he earned from his climate-change advocacy (i.e., books, movies, and investments in renewable energy) has gone into his nonprofit organization, Alliance for Climate Protection, which aims to persuade Americans to adopt comprehensive solutions to the approaching climate crisis.

Boehner: What's the Big Deal with CO2, Anyways?

The award for this week’s most understated headline goes to Politico’s Lisa Lerer for this little doozy: “GOP grapples with climate confusion.” Though little of her article actually breaks new ground, it perfectly encapsulates the Republicans’ current predicament – that of being stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to taking action on climate change.

On the one hand, the Republicans need to marshall their resources and come up with a coherent alternative to the proposed Democratic plan, lest they wish to lose the PR game and suffer another legislative defeat in the House of Representatives (the Senate, unfortunately, will be a much larger hurdle to overcome); on the other, they need to be wary of not alienating their base by devoting too much time to addressing a “hoax.”

John Boehner, the Say Anything Republican

John BoehnerYou have to give it to John Boehner when it comes to looking out for his own interests. That would be $188,700 worth of interests in the form of campaign donations from coal, oil and gas lobbyists in 2008. It seems that to keep that K Street cash cow flowing, he’ll say just about anything.

The Democrats have put out a first draft of a plan that addresses energy security and climate change, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES).

The energy component puts efficiency front and center. Efficiency, as in use less energy to get the same return. Efficiency, as in spend less money on energy because things are running more efficiently. Efficiency, as in let’s invest in a more efficient energy grid and more efficient cars instead of shipping money overseas to the tune of $700 billion a year in oil imports.

Efficiency, is good. Efficiency saves consumers and businesses money. Efficiency creates American jobs. According to a report released by American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “energy efficiency initiatives that reward consumers and businesses for reducing electricity and gas usage could result in utility bill savings of $168.6 billion.” It could also result in 222,000 permanent, high quality American jobs in construction, manufacturing, and other fields. But John Boehner doesn’t seem to like efficiency. John Boehner would rob Americans of jobs and $168.6 billion. Why? Did I mention the $188,700 he gets from the corner fossil fuel pushers?

And then there’s the renewable energy component of the bill. At a time when coal rates are rising in the U.S. – by 6.9% in Virginia, 45% in Ohio and a whopping 50 – 100% in North Carolina, for example – experts recommend efficiency measures and increasing energy from natural, renewable sources (not nuclear) as the answer. But John Boehner doesn’t want us to move toward renewables, even if they are the answer. He doesn’t want to create American jobs, either – wind and solar are sources not just of clean energy but of good, American jobs. I guess he must have 188,700 reasons for being against that.

Republicans: still clueless about their own emissions

Republican Congressman Steve Pearce represents the second congressional district in New Mexico. The effect of climate change on nearly every aspect of life have been noted, and are predicted to be profound unless action is taken (reports ). However, Pearce's head is deep in the White Sands , because he's convinced that:

“The entire question of global warming is one that has a lot of myth associated with it and probably less science.”

Debate with Rep. Wilson (R-NM01), April 29, 2008, Los Alamos, New Mexico (video)

It's even sadder that his view is shared by 74% of his fellow Republican lawmakers.

The Frank Luntz Mea Culpa

“My own beliefs have changed from when I was tasked with that project,” and “today I would not have that paragraph in a document about the environment.”

And with those words (and a couple more) Frank Luntz, considered by many (including DSBlog) to be one of the godfather's of the PR spin machine attacking the science of climate change, offers up his most frank admission of error to date. Here's the clip:

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