By Steve Milloy
September 28, 2010, The Washington Times
Just who are the Republicans against environmental protection? That’s the intriguing question posed by the activist group that calls itself Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP).
At first glance, REP violates in spades former California state Republican Party Chairman Gaylord Parkinson’s Eleventh Commandment, later adopted by Ronald Reagan: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” REP implicitly and sanctimoniously defames all Republicans – or at least the vast majority who haven’t signed on to its dubious agenda.
REP formed in 1995 when a network of anti-development, nominally Republican activists gelled to fight the new Republican-controlled Congress’ effort at regulatory reform, including the oft-abused Endangered Species Act (ESA).
So as Contract With America Republicans tried to get a meaningful grip on the alphabet soup of laws and regulations empowering federal agencies to be impervious to sound science, cost-benefit-analysis and even common sense, REP was helping Clinton administration EPA chief Carol M. Browner portray the newly empowered congressional Republicans as pillagers of the Earth and threats to the public health.
In that landmark battle of the 104th Congress, REP actions were indistinguishable from those of any radical environmental group. The consequences can be seen today in the greens’ use of the ESA-protected snail darter to block much-needed water from farmers in California’s Central Valley.
Fast-forward to the current 111th Congress, and the REP is again working against the interests of Republicans and America.
REP supported the Waxman-Markey “cap-and-trade” bill, which squeaked by in the House, 219-212. Eight REP-applauded Republicans helped Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pass the bill, including REP honorary board members Reps. Michael N. Castle of Delaware and Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois. And what did REP say about Republicans who opposed Waxman-Markey?
Reps. Joe Barton of Texas, John Shimkus of Illinois and Fred Upton of Michigan were given “environmental harm demerits” for their supposed “failure to engage constructively in the committee debate about climate legislation.” No word from REP on the “constructiveness” of Mrs. Pelosi inserting a 300-page amendment in the bill at 3 a.m. the day of the final vote.
REP slammed Reps. Mike Pence of Indiana, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and John A. Boehner of Ohio “for their efforts to poison and polarize the debate on energy and climate legislation.” REP doesn’t just speak ill of fellow Republicans – it demonizes them.
On the Senate side, REP slammed South Carolina’s Jim DeMint for the audacity of trying to bar the Department of the Interior from reducing water allocations to the aforementioned California farmers. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was hit for blocking efforts to regulate carbon dioxide because of polar bears. Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn got a demerit for opposing a 2009 Obama administration land grab.
Though Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine earned “environmental leadership credits” for supporting carbon caps, one can only imagine the insults they will get from REP because Mr. Graham single-handedly torpedoed the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill by withdrawing his co-sponsorship, and Mrs. Collins voted to block EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases. REP honorary board member Sen. John McCain may very well be defrocked for vocally opposing efforts to ram through cap-and-trade.
So it appears that any Republican who dares to oppose the radical environmentalist agenda of total government control over energy use and property is a Republican Against the Environment.
Though REP members probably aren’t the same sort of hard-core Marxist-socialists who make up the radical environmental movement, they appear at the very least to be severely misguided highbrows (honorary board member Theodore Roosevelt IV comes to mind) who think the government ought to protect the natural world from the plundering plebeians – and no taxpayer/consumer expense is too great to bear and no individual freedom or constitutional principle is too sacred to sacrifice in that cause.
Giving REP the benefit of the doubt about Marxist-socialism, perhaps it would consider re-forming as Democrats for Freedom and Capitalism. That would solve several very obvious problemsimmediately, including this one: Because environmental protection is essentially a luxury affordable only by wealthy nations, as the Obamacrats impoverish America with high taxes, outlandish spending and more economy-killing regulations, they also will wind up, ironically, hurting the very environment about which they claim to care so much.
Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery, 2009).