Congressional Republicans are looking for every opportunity to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate change regulations. The Clean Power Plan would reduce allowable emissions from power plants which would cause hundreds of coal plants to close. Republicans have decried the regulations which they describe as part of the administration’s “war on coal.” The Republican’s latest ploy involves an allegation that administration improperly colluded with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
An “investigation” was launched by two Republicans, California Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, who sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Issa and Vitter allege that the EPA broke the law as written in the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how agencies write regulations. Republicans have demonstrated themselves to be stalwart supporters of dirty energy and despite the wealth of scientific evidence, they continue to doubt the veracity of anthropogenic climate change. Nor do they support the improved air quality that would emanate from the new standards. The GOP fights clean air and efforts to curb climate change due to economic reasons. However, they pay no interest to the body of evidence that shows the costs associated with climate change or the health impacts of dirty air.
To support their witch-hunt, Republicans point to emails between the EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, and employees of the NRDC. The specifically point to an exchange between Ms. McCarthy and David Doniger, an NRDC lawyer.
The coal industry along with hundreds of groups contributed comments prior to the announcement of the new rules. The NRDC was among many other environmental groups that actively lobbied for curbing emissions from power plants.
The truth is that the EPA chief has met with and listened to a diverse array of groups from the coal industry to environmental groups. An E.P.A. spokesman, Thomas Reynolds said in an email, “to imply that one group had any undue influence on the proposal’s development is ridiculous and absurd.”
Considering the closeness of Republican lawmakers and the fossil fuel industry this allegation seems outlandish. Organizations like ALEC are supported by the dirty energy industry and known to write legislation for lawmakers.
The NRDC sued the Obama administration to force the government to adopt restrictions on emissions, they also produced a 110-page plan.
The EPA did not need the NRDC to tell them that power plants generate 40 percent of US GHGs and coal plants are the worst emitters. If the EPA implemented some of the NRDC’s suggestions it is because of the inherent merits of their ideas.
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