WASHINGTON – House Republicans on the appropriations committee released a plan Thursday that would eliminate $1.6 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.
The news, as first noted by Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones, is part of a broader GOP assault on the EPA as the Obama administration seeks to use the agency to control greenhouse gas emissions.
The EPA, created by Republican President Richard Nixon in 1970, is tasked with enforcing standards for environmental laws in tandem and state and local governments. It also researches and monitors potential environmental health hazards.
In President Barack Obama’s first two years, Republicans successfully blocked Democrats’ attempts at passing comprehensive energy and climate change reform through Congress. As a result, the administration decided to use the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, Republicans have increasingly called for eliminating or reducing the role of the EPA.
GOP lawmakers have described EPA regulations as “job killing.”
As part of the effort, House Republicans this month unveiled legislation that would forbid the EPA from controlling carbon emissions. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a fierce climate-change denier, has drafted a similar plan in the Senate.
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson decried the proposals, saying it would “eliminate portions of the Clean Air Act, the landmark law that all American children and adults rely on to protect them from harmful air pollution.”
“This bill appears to be part of a broader effort in this Congress to delay, weaken or eliminate Clean Air Act protections of the American public,” she said in a committee hearing.
The efforts reflect a concerted GOP effort to combat the notion of human-caused climate change.
Progressives and environmentalists fret that with Republicans making it effectively impossible to limit greenhouse gases through the legislative process, the EPA may be the last best chance for Washington to try and combat global warming.
An overwhelming majority of climate scientists say global climate change is being significantly exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and will have disastrous environmental impacts across the world.