House Republicans have lately been working to compile a legislative package that will, among other energy-related measures, compel the federal government to allow for more domestic energy production. The effort would create productive private-sector jobs, boost tax revenues, diversify our national energy portfolio, and spur economic growth and innovation (sans the sort of money-wasting government “investments” of which President Obama is so fond). There’s even been some bipartisan support for their proposals, as certain Democrats can see that the people in their states are hurting for jobs and need to be allowed to tap into America’s abundant resources to contribute to the creation of wealth and prosperity.
But of course, for Democrats who don’t care for the GOP’s proposals, there’s always that handy-dandy, timeless line of argument that the GOP just doesn’t care about how many people are ‘murdered’ as a result of their money-grubbing policies. It’s just like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is always saying — Republicans just hate clean water and clean air. They actively desire that the skies be filled with smog and the streets run thickly with toxic sludge. Or something.
House Natural Resources ranking member Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-California) had some oh-so-placid and well-thought-out criticisms for their Republican friends’ ideas, up for a vote this week:
The legislation is a “monstrosity,” a “Trojan horse,” an “all-out assault” on the environment and a “massive giveaway” to the oil industry that would not lower gas prices by “one cent,” the two lawmakers said. …
In the Energy and Commerce panel, Democratic Reps. Mike Ross (Ark.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and John Barrow (Ga.) voted for several of the bills. During consideration of H.R. 4880, one of the bills that came before Energy and Commerce, an amendment of Waxman’s was adopted by voice vote.
“It’s surprising to hear ranking member Henry Waxman lambast the House GOP’s energy bill for being an all-out assault on the environment when several of his members voted for it in committee, not to mention the fact that Mr. Waxman’s and [Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell’s] amendments were adopted during markup,” a GOP aide carped. …
Continuing his response, Waxman upped the ante, saying Republicans are “getting away — literally — with murder” because of their record on the environment.
“Some of these pollutants do harm, and they may even lead to fatalities,” Waxman said.
Waxman and Markey also released a report accusing Republicans of leading the “most anti-environment House in the history of Congress,” and lamented that these bills would quickly become law in the event of a Mitt Romney presidency.
Enough of this baloney. That Republicans ‘hate clean air and clean water’ is nothing more than an intellectually cheap, kindergarten-maturity-level talking point. So many know-nothing “environmentalists,” who’ve hopped on the bandwagon of eco-trendiness without actually knowing squat about the environment, are quick to believe that prosperity is the absolute enemy of the environment — which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, various types of pollution in certain areas got pretty bad following the rise of the Industrial Revolution, but in the post-war years, across-the-board, environmental quality has been on the rise (despite the multiplying population!). Increased efficiency and innovation have continually improved how much use we get out of our energy sources (we’re getting ever-more miles to the gallon, for example), and in this age of information with well-enforced property rights, businesses have lots of incentives to pick up after themselves. And yes, government regulation certainly played its role in this process, but these days, the ineffective, entrenched policies of the federal government’s inefficient bureaucracy are more often the environment’s foe than its friend.
As prosperity continues to grow, there’s absolutely no reason to think that the environment won’t also continue to improve.
Democrats and the EPA have a peculiar penchant for citing statistics from the American Lung Association and whatnot about how many premature deaths will come as a result of not implementing some new regulation or other, but I might pause to query whether Rep. Waxman ever rides in a car or uses electricity? Because, if so, by his own reasoning, he is directly contributing to the pollution-related death rate. Of course, we could just renounce all forms of energy and go back to living in trees, but then, of course, the premature death rate would be much, much, much higher. You need to think about tradeoffs, sir, before you throw around such cheap demagoguery.