Two years isn’t a long time. But its enough time to inflict some serious damage if you’re the new party in power in the House of Representatives.
The Republicans, riding the
lunatic fringe Tea Party wave in the 2010 election, seized a sizable majority of the House of Representatives and started their reign of terror just 20 months ago. Three cheers for a divided Congress (yes, it has its benefits), but we’ve been given a foul taste of what a Republican-dominated government would give us: the end of Nature.
With Friday’s ridiculous “No More Solyndras” bill, House Republicans have logged a staggering 302 separate votes against the environment (Click here for full list) since John Boehner’s auspicious start as Speaker of the House in January 2011. These votes include final passage of bills like the innocuously worded “Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act”, which blocked the Endangered Species Act from being applied to California water projects, to the 2011 Scalise Amendment that cut the Secretary of the Interior’s budget as a punishment for the “slow pace” of offshore drilling permit approvals (because, what could go wrong?). Its part of an unbelievably vast anti-environment effort that involves defunding critical government agencies, halting forward progress in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and gutting regulations meant to protect us and the environment from industry run amok.
Here are some choice highlights from a staggering list:
- Amendment 678 to H.R. 2354: Rep. Michael Harris (R-TX) introduced this Amendment to block the Department of Energy from enforcing light bulb efficiency standards that were supported by…the light bulb manufacturing industry! This one is difficult to reconcile with rational thought…maybe because real patriots use more electricity?
- H.R. 2578, the “Conservation and Economic Growth Act” (a.k.a., “Stop Conserving and Drill, Baby, DRILL!”): This one is a whopper. Among other things, creates a 100-mile zone along U.S. borders where environmental laws do not apply. None of them. Oh, just imagine the fun we could have. Why stop there? How about just suspending ALL LAWS and we can return to the “salad days” of the Wild West…
- H.R. 10: The “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act“, introduced by Geoff Davis (R-KY). This one blocks any “major” (definition not provided) rule that isn’t approved by both houses of Congress within 70 legislative days. Well, since one house in particular could either vote down or simply fail to bring up any proposed rule, this bill basically blocks any new rule…end transmission.
- HR 1231: This doozy would have required the Department of the Interior to issue offshore oil and gas leases along all U.S. coasts, regardless of a state’s objection. This from the new Tea Party-infused majority, the party of the constitution and state’s rights: because state right’s are sacrosanct…except when considering oil and gas company profits. Its just what our founding fathers would have wanted.
Brutal, eh? And that’s just 1.3% of the list…
Republicans truly seem to want a country where industry is unhindered by considerations of environmental and public health, where the clock is turned back on the small amount of progress we’ve made toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions through technological innovation and conservation, where the government is stripped of all power (and funding) in protecting its citizens… a Tea Party paradise? No thanks.
A Democratic majority in the Senate has kept the vast majority of these actions from seeing the light of day, but control of the Senate hangs in the balance in 2012.