Climate change deniers beget climate change deniers

Congressman Fred Upton (R-Michigan)

Congressman Fred Upton (R-Michigan)

Michigan’s Fred Upton, who became the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in early January, is a climate change denier, reversing a position he took when he told his home town paper, the River Country Journal, in 1999 that, “Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions. Everything must be on the table – particularly renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, nuclear power and clean coal technologies.”

In an interview this week at a public forum with journalist Ron Brownstein, when asked to explain why a bill he introduced with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) challenging an Environmental Protection Agency finding portrays climate change as “possible.”  Upton said, “I have said many times, and there was a report a couple of weeks ago that in fact you look at this last year, it was the warmest year in the last decade, I think was the number that came out. I don’t — I accept that. I do not say that it is man-made and I know from the hearings that we had that even if cap and trade had been enacted, it would not have changed the temperature by a tenth of a degree, virtually anywhere in the world.”   The video of that interview went viral Tuesday.

Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott

Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott

So when the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott appeared today before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, complaining that the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations are, in his opinion, contrary to the Clean Air Act, his complaints were not met by unsympathetic ears.

Abbott challenged, what he termed, the EPA’s recent abrupt changes, saying, “Texas remains committed to working with the EPA to improve air quality and hold polluters accountable. But Texas cannot support the EPA – and in fact must challenge it – when it pursues regulations that are contrary to the law and devastating to the economy.”  Claiming  the EPA has ignored the specifications of the Clean Air Act, violated notice and comment requirements, and “attempted to re-write congressionally enacted federal laws by administrative rule-making,” he justified the State of Texas challenges to six regulations that the EPA has issued in an attempt to regulate gases such as carbon dioxide in the federal court of appeals.  Click here to read an earlier blog post on Texas’  flex permit program, one of the regulations Texas is challenging.

Today’s hearing focused specifically on The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Some members of Congress have expressed concern that the Clean Air Act was never intended, and is ill-suited, to regulate greenhouse gases (or in Texas’ case, it would seem anything that impacts the air quality in our state), but the courts have rule otherwise and until Congress passes legislation, it seems that is the way it will roll.  So climate change deniers are rushing to make their position the law of the land.


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