UPDATED: I’m Not Letting EPA Mom Lisa Jackson Face the Science Deniers Alone
Tomorrow, Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will testify in front of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology for the first time. It won't be pretty. By the very title of the event, Strengthening the Scientific Backbone of the EPA: An Examination of Agency Practices and Foundations for Regulations Affecting the American Economy, anyone can see that its main purpose is to discredit EPA science. When the EPA’s scientific credibility is weakened, industry lobbyists have a much easier time in their efforts to block new public health protections such as the Soot Rule, recently proposed under the Clean Air Act, and chip away at existing ones, such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
Here is a sample of what Republican committee members have said:
"Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus.”
-- Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia
“The EPA regularly fails to analyze and communicate scientific uncertainties, refuses to make key scientific data publicly available, inflates health benefits while understating actual economic costs, and short-changes the peer review process."
-- Congressman Ralph M. Hall of Texas, Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
“If we allow them to continue to put rules in place based on ideology and not science, we're going to see energy costs increases in this area of Indiana."
-- Congressman Larry Bucshon of Indiana, who is also a medical doctor
Republican committee members deny EPA science in the name of job creation. It’s worth noting, however, that 15 of the 22 members have received campaign contributions from the oil & gas industry that total in excess of $400,000. Thirteen of the 22 have received from electric utilities campaign contributions totaling in excess of $200,000.
Just yesterday, the US Appeals Court in DC upheld the EPA’s interpretation of its legal authority to regulate industrial carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. The court said, “The EPA’s interpretation of the governing Clean Air Act provisions is unambiguously correct.” It also said in its ruling, "This is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question." How embarrassing for EPA science deniers, but we can expect them to come back swinging, meaning that tomorrow’s hearings could be particularly hostile.
Sadly, Administrator Jackson may be heading into the Science Committee hearing alone, with few supporters. Many Democratic members of the Science Committee won't even bother to show up to provide cover by asking friendly questions. Lisa Jackson is a mom with asthmatic sons of her own. When she fights for smart environmental and public health policy, it's personal. She is truly our champion. That's why I'm not going to let her go into the lion's den by herself. I plan to be in that room tomorrow, in the audience, to support Lisa Jackson. I hope other moms will join me, since the more of us there are, the more powerful the statement we'll make that families trust Lisa Jackson, and families want regulations to protect our air, food and water.
7:45 PM EST - After posting here, I went to close the House Science Committee hearing page and saw that this hearing has been "postponed." The committee must have heard I was coming with a group of moms and kids and run scared, haha.