The Republican’s anti-environment witch hunt continues with yet another piece of legislation that seeks to dismantle the centerpiece of US climate action. On Tuesday November 17th the Republican controlled Senate passed legislation designed to kill the most important climate action ever taken in the US. As he had promised, Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to stop the EPA from regulating power plants.
As explained by the President, the Clean Power Plan will reign in emissions in a way that is both effective and flexible. In addition to reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, the plan will provide both economic and health benefits.
A comparison of the impacts of unregulated coal power versus the regulatory regime contained in the plan show the benefits far outweigh the costs. Nonetheless, Republicans have pushed forward with yet another attempt to prevent the US from acting on climate change. A similar effort was launched by Republican lawmakers in 2014.
Republican lawmakers are undeterred by the fact that they are at odds with American public opinion. Support for clean energy is at an all time high in the US. A Yale study found that almost two-thirds of Americans want strict carbon limits on existing power plants. Republican Senators are equally unmoved by the nearly 9 million comments that Americans sent into the EPA supporting pollution limits.
Republicans have once again sided with old energy. Although these lawmakers are paid by the public, it would appear that they do not take this to mean that they have to listen.
Although the legislation is expected to be vetoed by the President, it is a tragic reflection of just how disconnected Republicans are from reality.
The White House said:
“ [B]y nullifying the Clean Power Plan, S.J.Res. 24 seeks to block progress towards cleaner energy, eliminating public health and other benefits of up to $54 billion per year by 2030, including thousands fewer premature deaths from air pollution and tens of thousands of fewer childhood asthma attacks each year.”
Here are the two resolutions that were approved by the Senate:
One of the two resolutions was advanced by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). The resolution of disapproval says that Clean Power Plan “shall have no force or effect.” Although the resolution is sponsored almost entirely by Republicans of the 48 co-sponsors there are a couple of democrats.
The second resolution was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). This one both disapproves of the Clean Power Plan and repeals it.
These are the same Republicans that the President has to deal with as we head into climate talks at COP21. Democrats voiced their disapproval of the vote and the timing in particular.
“I think they’re trying to create confusion and uncertainty before the international climate agreement is finalized, and it’s not going to work,” said Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii of the votes. “They have had success in the past in muddying the waters, but we are in a different place now in terms of the international participation, in terms of domestic political support for clean energy, and in terms of having a real clean energy program in America.”
Republicans can be expected to continue to do everything in their power to undermine climate action as we head towards a hoped for climate agreement in Paris. As the rest of the world is pledging to reduce their emissions, Republicans are making good on their threats to fight While the world is coming together to find solutions to the climate crisis the Republicans it.
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