The Hypocrisy And Stupidity Of The GOP's Hatred Of The EPA

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The Hypocrisy And Stupidity Of The GOP's Hatred Of The EPA

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:10 pm

1/03/2012 @ 7:00PM |1,440 views
The Hypocrisy And Stupidity Of The GOP's Hatred Of The EPA

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has taken advantage of his newfound popularity to get on board the Republican war against clean air and water.

According to Santorum, the new EPA rule that will finally place limits on how much mercury the nation’s coal and oil fired power plants can spew into the air —a regulation specifically created to protect young children and developing fetuses from the damage known to be caused by mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin—will shut down 60 power plants in the US and is “not based on any kind of science.”


What Santorum is not telling you is that we have long had regulations on mercury emissions for other types of emission sources such as waste incinerators. Why? Because it is no secret that mercury is highly damaging to our health, particularly the health of children and developing fetuses. Yet, coat and oil fired power plants, the single-largest source of mercury emissions, were never included in the limits —until now.

Indeed, the only thing not based on any kind of science is Santorum’s determination that causing some private power plant operators to install the technology required to stay within the new emission limits is more important than the estimated 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma attacks that will be prevented each and every year as a result lowering the level of mercury in the air.

While it may not play well with the GOP base and Tea Party members committed to ending federal government regulations—even when they make sense—the new EPA rules are the result of a peer-reviewed study that has taken twenty years to complete.

But it’s not like one requires a degree in chemical engineering to appreciate that mercury in the air can’t be a good thing.

If you doubt this, just listen to the never-ending GOP complaints over the dangers of mercury escaping from the compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs the government will soon require us to use in place of the highly inefficient incandescent bulbs. While the supposed dangers of mercury from a broken CFL bulb falling to the carpet is enough to motivate conservatives to fill their basements with stockpiles of old-school style light bulbs as if they were preparing for electric-Armageddon, they don’t seem to have a problem with coal plants pouring this neurotoxin into the air where it can cause all sorts of serious health problems for the entire population.

How does that make any sense? You would think that these Republicans and their children breathe different air than the rest of us.

But then, maybe they do. You don’t find a lot of coal burning power plants in upper-class neighborhoods – only the people who own the plants and would prefer not to have to spend the money to upgrade their technology to meet the new standards to protect the rest of their fellow citizens.

While you may wish to argue that the amount of mercury exposure resulting from a busted CFL bulb in your house is, somehow, more dangerous than being exposed to mercury 24/7, you would be wrong. Despite the horror stories being pitched suggesting that people in hazmat gear will be required to clean up a busted light bulb, the truth is a broken CFL bulb will be swept up (not vacuumed) just as broken bulbs have always been swept up. A little more care is required in disposal just as more care is required when disposing of used batteries.

And yet, despite these obviously contradictory impulses, the GOP is ready to shut down the EPA because the agency dared to require power plants to reduce the amount of mercury it pumps into the air.

If this behavior fails to strike you as sufficiently odd, consider the hypocrisy of a man like Rick Santorum—as dedicated a pro-lifer as you will find—who argues, in defense of life, that a physician who performs an abortion should be treated as a criminal and thrown in jail but defends the practice of spreading the very neurotoxins through the air that damage the development of many unborn children along with the many already born children who will grow up to be sickly adults—or worse— due to the illnesses caused by mercury.

If you are going to protect life, then protect all life — not just the ones that will win you some votes. To do otherwise is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

We all understand that, from time to time, the government can get carried away and over regulate. If it can be shown that a regulation is causing far more harm than good, I have no problem doing away with that regulation.

However, when it comes to our health and the health of our children, is over-regulation even possible? Does it ever make sense to balance the need to drive profit against the desire to have healthy children?

The bottom line here is that the GOP has picked the wrong enemy in taking on the EPA. You simply can’t argue that you are pro-life and then be unwilling to protect that life because you believe it is bad for business.

With the exception of the die hard GOP base, it’s a losing pitch as voters just aren’t going to buy it.

And we all know what that means.

contact Rick at

Twitter @rickungar

source ... f-the-epa/
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