As some of you may know, the proposed House spending bill for 2010 is hoping to slash $60 billion from the federal budget. Among its targets, the Environmental Protection Agency is facing some of the most devastating fund reductions. The proposal slices the EPA's budget by 30%, which constitutes the largest cut to any agency. Additionally, the GOP is hoping to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions with the abolishment of The Clean Air Act.
The proposed legislation has resulted in a storm of debate on Capitol Hill as of late. The House GOP claims that such legislation will work towards bringing down the skyrocketing cost of gasoline. This claim, however, has received a fair deal of backlash from House Dems. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee commented on the matter, stating:
"It is one of the most pathetically, economically invalid arguments ever made in human history,"
More here: The Hill
The fact remains, though, gas prices are increasing at an alarming rate. The AAA auto club reports that gasoline prices are averaging $3.44 in Virginia as of 3/10/2011. That's a 12 cent jump in just a week. Still, the rhetoric spewing from the GOP is just a cheap attempt to pander to the uninformed. Their claims are based off of an industry commission's study of cap-and-trade legislation that died back in 2009. It's completely unfair to compare the EPA's present rules to a bill that surfaced back in 2009.
The health risk this potential legislation offers is undeniable. With an increase in pollution and environmental toxins comes an increase in the number of annual children diagnosed with asthma, brain cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious health concerns.
Asthma, even for adults, is one of the largest contributors to work and school absenteeism. The illness results in almost 15 million lost workdays each year. Furthermore, mesothelioma symptoms (a rare cancer that forms on the lining of the lungs) are often mistaken for symptoms of asthma. When left undiagnosed, the mesothelioma life expectancy does not generally exceed 14 months.
Slashing the funds to climate change programs is not the answer to our economic struggles. If anything, carbon emission regulation saves us on the collateral costs of things like hospital bills.