Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Very Hostile Environment

Republicans are turning to their next set of legislative priorities down the road from the debt ceiling mess, and that's jobs jobs jobs declaring war on the environment.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are waging an all-out war to block federal regulations that protect the environment.

They loaded up a pending 2012 spending bill with terms that would eliminate a broad array of environmental protections, everything from stopping new plants and animals from being placed on the endangered species list to ending federal limits on water pollution in Florida.

The terms also include a rollback of pollution regulations for mountaintop mining and a red light on federal plans to prevent new uranium mining claims near the Grand Canyon.

Another Republican-sponsored bill that's before Congress would weaken the nation's 1972 Clean Water Act, taking away the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to step in when it finds state water-pollution rules too loose.

The sweeping anti-environmental regulation agenda has support among Senate Republicans and the GOP's presidential hopefuls. Its backers say it's necessary for the sake of jobs and economic growth.

Right.  Despite the fact that companies continue to sit on massive amounts of cash and record profits as second quarter earnings season gets underway, the problem with unemployment is that regulations are far too restrictive for American corporations to make any money, Republicans say.  Yes, Obama has been terrible for corporate profits.  See how much regulations are hurting businesses?  Hurting them all the way to all-time high profitability numbers and CEO pay higher than before the financial crisis.  Yep, regulations are really hurting.

And having learned nothing, the GOP latest hostage is the environment.  Clear air and water, endangered species, safety regulations, our national parks and forests, in a GOP world all of those take a back seat to making record corporate profits even higher.

And no, they don't give a damn:

EPA funding would be cut by $1.5 billion, or 18 percent, from 2011, putting funding below where it was in 2006, during the Bush administration. The level would cut funds sharply for states and communities to install clean-water infrastructure.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund would be cut by 79 percent from last year. It provides matching grants to states and local governments for recreational areas and facilities. The money comes from oil and gas revenues.

Among the bill's proposed policy changes:
  • Money would be available to take animal and plant species off the endangered and threatened lists, but not to add any.
  • EPA water-pollution initiatives would stop. The agency couldn't regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste when it's placed in landfills, something it hasn't yet decided whether to do. The EPA and the Department of the Interior would be blocked from regulating water pollution from mountaintop coal mining.
  • The Interior Department would be prevented from carrying out its plan to ban new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon for 20 years.
  • A provision by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., would block the EPA from spending money to enforce water pollution rules in Florida.
  • A provision by Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, would stop the EPA from limiting mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from the Portland cement industry, a type of cement.
House Republicans put similar cuts in the 2011 spending bill, but Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama eliminated most of them.

Republicans scream and howl about how future generations will be "destroyed" by taxes, but are doing everything they can to see future generations actually destroyed by chemicals, pollution, poisons and lack of oversight.  Who needs clean air and water anyway?

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