Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Excellent Asheville editorial notes congressional Rs have lost their way

Hunters, anglers line up to oppose efforts to harm clean air, water

Remember when to be conservative meant, among other things, wanting to conserve our nation's natural resources? Apparently, today's version of congressional Republicans don't.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been under steady attack since Republicans gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. A particular target is EPA efforts to enforce the Clean Air Act. Four times in May the Senate blocked House efforts to stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gases...

The Clean Air Act dates from 1970. Like the Endangered Species Act (1973) and the Clean Water Act (greatly expanded in 1972), it was enacted while Republican Richard Nixon was president. Nixon himself was indifferent to environmental issues, but he appointed people who cared deeply, such as Rogers C.B. Morton and Nathaniel P. Reed.

In those days, Republicans championed protection of natural resources. The task has become more important today now that we understand more deeply the effects of climate change. Sadly, the GOP has abandoned the fight and instead seeks to impede it...

Even if anti-EPA laws are not enacted, the very effort seeks to intimidate the regulators, said Frank O'Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch. He said the EPA already has been pressured into backpedaling on rules to halve dangerous emissions from fossil-fuel burning boilers.

The fight has been joined. Those who want to preserve environmental protections must not back down. Those who want to destroy them will not, even though their efforts make a mockery of their self-proclaimed conservatism.

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