Saturday, August 06, 2011


While our eyes and ears were held captive by the manufactured crisis surrounding raising the debt ceiling, so were the eyes and ears of the House Republicans. This turned out to be a good thing, as an unusually forthright editorial in the Los Angeles Times points out:

House republicans, especially those of the "tea party" ilk, think they know the cause of our country's economic woes: environmental regulations. As a result, they loaded up the appropriations bill that funds the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency with dozens of riders that would encourage deadly pollution of the air and water, set back efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and allow uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, among other things. Such riders are commonplace on annual appropriations bills, but Washington insiders say they've never seen such a breathtaking assault on the environment.

If there was any good news from the chaos surrounding this week's deal to raise the federal debt ceiling, it's that the drawn-out congressional debate over the issue distracted GOP representatives from passing this monstrosity. The Interior appropriations bill will resurface after the August recess, but now it's unclear whether the House will approve it as a stand-alone bill or combine it with other appropriations bills into an omnibus spending package; also unclear is whether the anti-environment riders will survive the process. It's very important that they don't.

That's pretty strong language from the "center left" editorial board, but it gets even shriller:

Why are House Republicans so mad at Mother Nature? "Many of us think that the over-regulation from the EPA is at the heart of our stalled economy," Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) told the New York Times. Actually, it was a failure to properly regulate the mortgage industry that caused the meltdown, not environmental protections that have been in place, through economic good times and bad, since the 1970s. Nor are planned regulations that won't go into effect for years the source of our current financial problems. But they do make a convenient scapegoat for those who would rather not discuss further regulation of the financial industry. [Emphasis added]

Hallelujah! They finally get it!

Of course, the benefactors of House Republicans, whether its Shell Oil or the Koch brothers, want those pesky regulations lifted in order to make more money without any of the attendant responsibilities, state of the earth be damned. Now that the first manufactured crisis is over, the next one is being prepared and will be delivered in September as Republicans urge the regulations be lifted because they are job killers.

What I found heartening was the on-the-money analysis and blunt language of the editorial, something altogether too rare in this newspaper and others. I think we're making some headway.


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