Likening to a piñata event the abuse the House Republicans and unfortunately some local Democrats are throwing at the environment, on Friday the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published the following editorial. We could not have said it any better; we certainly expect more from Democrats Jason Altmire and Mark Critz.
This week brought the depressing news that Pennsylvania is second only to Ohio in having the worst toxic air pollution in the nation, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Read it and weep — weep for your country.
Weep not only because Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are doing everything in their power to delay or stop the so-called Mercury Rule that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to clean the nation’s air but also because the EPA and the environment itself are themselves in the political cross-hairs to an extent not seen in years.
As Ed Perry, a retired biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and now the Pennsylvania outreach coordinator with the National Wildlife Federation, says, “This is the most amazing assault on clean air, water and wildlife that I have seen in my 40 years of working on conservation issues.”
Consider the evidence: Last week the House passed the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, HR 2018, an attempt to gut the EPA’s power to set water standards for states — and never mind that water from one state can flow downriver to degrade the next. Although this bill embodies extreme conservative ideology, Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, is a co-sponsor and voted for it.
More anti-environmental mischief is pending: A vote is expected early next week on the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Appropriations Act, HR 2584, which is heavily larded with noxious affronts to the idea of responsible stewardship of the environment.
As well as various assaults on the EPA, there’s even a perverse provision that would place a moratorium on the listing of any more plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act (265 are now pending).
On Thursday the Obama administration indicated that it would veto HR 2584, but Mr. Altmire and other local legislators should cast their votes against it first.
Keep it America the beautiful.”
For a reminder of what is at stake, see a fine Beautiful Earth video that is being distributed by Moveon.org.