Why Does the GOP Hate Clean Air?

The Republican Party isn’t only planning to block climate change rules put into effect by the Obama administration; they’re also targeting the 40-year old Clean Air Act.

Ed Whitfield (R-KY) thinks that some dirty air is okay and is not afraid to say so. In a recent interview with National Journal Daily, the coal state Republican talked about his desire to roll back provisions of the Clean Air Act, saying:

This is a much broader issue than the health of the American people and lungs and emphysema; it’s how can we balance that in the global marketplace for jobs.

Your lungs or your job. Is that the trade-off that Whitfield is asking American voters to accept? There likely wouldn’t be many takers.

Whitfield says that he wants to re-debate the wisdom of the Clean Air Act and hammer home the idea�that the clean air rules are hampering the economy.

Ever since I’ve been in Congress, various groups on the business side, those entities that are creating jobs out there, have felt that the Clean Air Act is really—that�there are all sorts of presumptions in favor of the environmentalists….they feel very strongly and we feel very strongly as members that we need to revisit the Clean Air Act.

It is quite telling—and a bit scary—that Whitfield describes strong clean air protections as “presumptions in favor of environmentalists.” Are we to believe no one else really wants clean air?

The Clean Air Act, which President Nixon signed into law 40 years ago, passed Congress by a vote of 374-1 in the House and 73-0 in the Senate. You cannot get much more bipartisan than that.

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