Alphonse, Gaston and the Mugging of EPA

The introduction of a bill by Rep. Upton (R-MI) and Senator Inhofe (R-OK) to block EPA from acting to protect the public health is the next step in a transparent strategy orchestrated by the fossil fuels lobby to put profits ahead of people.

It reminds me of the classic Alphonse and Gaston comic strip, but with a twist.   You may recall that neither Alphonse nor Gaston ever made progress because every time they came to a door, they would get paralyzed by excessive politeness, and nothing would be accomplished until they met some unfortunate end or another.

Gaston: “You first Alphonse!” 
Alphonse: “No no, after you Gaston!”

In this case, we have the EPA, through the Obama Administration, inviting Congress to take the first step.  

EPA: “Congress, please take the first steps towards addressing the massive climate disruptions that are bearing down on our fine American landscape!”

And the response of Congress?

Congress: “No, no, no EPA – we should, but we won’t.  

Unlike the comic strip, however, Congress also added, “but if you do, we will knock you down and tie you up, and keep you from actually accomplishing anything.”

The Upton-Inhofe bill, if passed, would complete the mugging of our nation’s chief public health protection agency. 

Meanwhile, the public is vulnerable to polluters.  The benefits of EPA’s implementation of reasonable, economically-justifiable regulations under the Clean Air Act will be compromised, directly or indirectly, by Congress’s attempts to substitute ideology for science.

Here is a reminder of the ways in which Clean Air Act Regulation by EPA has benefited the public since 1970:

  • Saving tens of thousands of lives each year by reducing harmful pollutants that cause or contribute to asthma, emphysema, heart disease and other potentially lethal respiratory ailments.
  • Reducing the harmful pollution from automobiles, industrial smokestacks, utility plants and major sources of toxic chemicals and particulate matter since the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970.
  • Saving Americans over $21 trillion dollars by keeping them out of hospitals, in schools, and on the job.
  • Creating new industries and jobs that annually generate billions of dollars in revenue.
  • Ensuring that benefits exceed costs by a staggering 40-1 by implementing the Clean Air Act reasonably and responsibly.
  • Proceeding with a measured phase-in of reductions in harmful carbon emissions, as required by the Supreme Court, so that the costs of complying will be dramatically lower than if you were to delay this much-needed public health protection.

The Upton-Inhofe bill will come to a vote this spring.  We will alert you to this vote when it occurs so that your voice can be heard before members cast their vote.

Cartoon by Frederick Burr Opper; this image is in the public domain in the United States.