The environment and renewable energy have made strong progress in last decade or so—with renewable energy on the rise and emissions down in the US—all while reducing energy costs. But it appears Republicans and the Administration would like to reverse that progress.
President Donald Trump’s appointee for the Department of Energy is former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) who said he wanted to dismantle the agency. His pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is Scott Pruitt (R), a climate change denier who faced strong opposition from business leaders as well as Democrats. A freshman member of Congress, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, introduced H.R.861, a resolution with the simple title and objective “To Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.”
The EPA doesn’t control renewable energy, that’s more of the Energy Department’s forte. But its rules and regulations have forced utilities to look at cleaner—and cheaper—forms of electric generation and there are no cleaner energy sources than the sun and wind. Reducing the capacity, moreover eliminating the EPA, would reduce its ability to help utilities choose smarter energy generation sources.
Currently, there’s no available text for the bill. But, Gaetz told the Northwest Florida Daily News that "The EPA has been doing some drastic things. They have exceeded their original mission substantially under both Republican and Democratic presidents and violated the sovereignty of the states. I think we need to start fresh.” He went on to suggest that states should manage the environment locally.
In an email to fellow Republican lawmakers obtained by the Huffington Post Gaetz also argued that "Today, the American people are drowning in rules and regulations promulgated by unelected bureaucrats.” He added, "And the Environmental Protection Agency has become an extraordinary offender."
His move drew sharp rebuke from environmentalists, including from the Sierra Club.
“Congressional Republicans have finally pulled back the curtain and revealed their true agenda: completely eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency and dismantling everything it does to protect our air, our water, and the health of American families,” responded Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce. “This bill would do nothing less than put the lives of thousands upon thousands of Americans at risk. After decades of trying smoke and mirror tactics to break the EPA, this bill finally makes things explicit and puts them in the clear light of day. The fact is that the American people will not stand for this egregious overreach, and Congressional Republicans should expect their town halls to remain full, their phone lines to remain jammed, and their lives remain difficult if they continue to recklessly put the profits of polluters ahead of the needs of their own constituents.”
Still, House Democrats told Business Insider they’re not concerned with passage of the nebulous resolution, observing that Gaetz is a freshman Representative and won’t likely have clout to get such legislation passed. However, one Democratic Aide told the publication: "It shows how brazen Republicans are in promoting their dirty air and water and anti-science agenda.”Tweet