Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some things change, and some don't

This is a not so sweet summary of the EPA's announcement last week that it will regulate greenhouse gases, if Congress cannot find a way to do it first.

Here's a summary of the science behind the proposed action, and how to comment. On both sides of the budding war-o'-words, others are already weighing in. In an interview with ABC News over the weekend, U. S. House Republican Leader John Boehner said, "George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it’s clear…"

Incidentally, the EPA's summary does not contend that CO2 is directly carcinogenic, and Boehner seems to have confused carbon dioxide with methane (another of the gases indicted in the EPA documents). Here's an overview of recent increases.

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Gas. [Reference: Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006, USEPA #430-R-08-005]

Regardless of facts, Congress can exempt industries from following such seemingly powerful laws as the Clean Air Act, and John Boehner's Congressional position gives him a very large stick in the debate over how to address some gorillas affecting (and fed by) our neck of the national woods.

Some recent history:

(As referenced above, H. R. 7231 was sponsored by Colorado Representative Diana De Gette in the 110th Congress, and co-sponsored by John Salazar. It died in a sub-committee.)
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