Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keeping the Pressure on the EPA

Guest Post by Scott P.

With a failure to hit the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget anywhere near expectation in the resolution last week, the GOP will likely have to switch its plan of attack on the EPA regulations that are threatening to cost businesses jobs and money in the near future.

The GOP had been pressuring in Capitol Hill on the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations through multiple attempts and proposals to cut their budget. While republican reps were looking for a 30 percent cut to the budget, the resolution came back with only a mere 16 percent cut to the EPA. Despite the failure to have the budget cut to their liking, the GOP has managed to take part in fights over legislation throughout the early months of 2011 as well.

Senator James Inhofe was one of those responsible for the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which is geared to attack the EPA’s cap and trade tax that allow them to lay costly regulations on businesses over greenhouse gas emissions. Inhofe saw the act as a major positive, saying that “The Energy Tax Prevention Act leaves all of the essential provisions of the Clean Air Act intact, ensuring that Americans will be protected from pollution that has direct public health impacts. It also prevents EPA from twisting the Clean Air Act into a bureaucratic obstacle to growth and expansion.”

The Energy Tax Prevention Act was only able to be passed through the house, however. After this act was voted down in Senate and the budget resolution was less than satisfying, the GOP could seemingly re-plan their agenda against the EPA. Just this week they’ve taken to protest new EPA rules that are set to limit toxins in coal and power plants. One involves the mercury regulations and the other involves hazardous emissions from boilers and plants. Even with the continued push to delay and have these regulations from the EPA removed, the GOP could stand to point out a major flaw in the EPA, and that involves their inability to use their resources on the right programs. The EPA has long lacked the ability to support and fund some of their most important resources, such as asbestos removal and mesothelioma reduction, as well as fighting water contamination issues.

The EPA should be exposed for not putting enough resources towards programs like the Safe Water Drinking Act, which enables a monitoring system that works to cut down on contamination levels in water and public drinking sources. Their work in asbestos abatement does wonders in cutting health risks, and it sometimes even saves lives, seeing as mesothelioma life expectancy is only a year on average. Regardless, some of the EPA’s initiatives that have a direct impact on cutting environmental health risks are their most important, and many are incorrectly supported in favor of rather useless campaigns.

The republicans have been critical of the EPA for the end of the 2010 year, and certainly in the first three months of 2011. Even with the failed budget proposals, there’s still optimism from the GOP side towards getting some of these regulations ended. With businesses breathing down their back, and major money at stake, expect republican reps to switch tactics and continue the fight against some of the EPA’s unnecessary and costly initiatives.

1 comment:

Frank Koza said...

Just a few points for consideratino. There are those who believe the EPA's asbestos abatement program may have done more harm than good. Asbestos is fairly innocuous when properly applied and left undisturbed, but their prescription to disturb it through removal releases fibers into the air and unneccessarily exposing people. Many fly-by-night "abatement" companies sprang up and hired minimum wage and undocumented workers to remove the substance exposing a lot more people to the dangers. Removal costs have been estimated to well-exceed expected benefits. Not sure if they're right, but I've seen estimates of somewhere around $100-500 million per life 'saved'. There are estimates that the use of asbestos as a fire retardant may have saved more lives than does removal.

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