What these Republican lawmakers do not care to understand is that environmental health is tied directly and indirectly to economic health. If, for instance, you're a big agribusiness farming company who continually damages your soil through negligence, you will lose money in the short-run, the long-run, or both. Or, if you are a utility that burns coal for electricity, it's good business practice to not poison surrounding communities of inhabitants, individuals who are also more than likely your customers.
That this issue is even being discussed, is even being questioned, owes a lot to the brilliant rhetoric and illogical basis upon which many within the Republican Party have made arguments against environmental protection. They point to the uncertainties inherent in science or they speak conspiratorially about the "liberal agenda," an agenda which has as much basis in truth as Big-foot but one that still has the effect of stirring conservative constituents into rapid political action. It is a line that liberals feel compelled to defend against instead of focusing on the issues of real importance and substance.