Love Letter from a Big Polluter? Issa Valentine!

Valentine's Day is coming a little early for House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who is getting a lot of love from the companies that don’t want to be held accountable for the standards and safeguards that protect Americans' health – particularly when those safeguards concern pollution.

We already knew a lot of these polluters are eager to put the EPA into a stranglehold and will want to help Issa and his cohorts  - such as Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton - as much as possible.

And of course Newt Gingrich is now egging Congress on with his calls to eliminate the EPA, an idea which the majority of Americans oppose. Most companies aren't quite saying that, but on the other hand if they get everything they're asking for, the effect would be dismantling the a lot of the EPA, safeguard by safeguard.

Despite the attention Issa’s valentines are generating, not all businesses are blowing kisses his way. There are a lot of businesses that support the EPA’s work to reduce life-threatening carbon and other pollution.

A number of big utilities made that quite clear to the Wall Street Journal, as I’ve mentioned before, saying

“Contrary to the claims that the EPA's agenda will have negative economic consequences, our companies' experience complying with air quality regulations demonstrates that regulations can yield important economic benefits, including job creation, while maintaining reliability.”

In December, over a dozen business organizations representing thousands of individual and small businesses sent a letter to Congress to express their support for clean air safeguards:

"… (S)mall business owners support some of the key strategies needed to reduce pollution and transition to a clean energy economy. A recent national poll of small business owners conducted by Small Business Majority … found that 61 percent of respondents agree that moving the country to clean energy is a way to restart the economy and make their businesses more competitive in the global economy, and that 50 percent support comprehensive clean energy and climate policy ... Larger businesses also support EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act and understand that it has spurred innovation and economic value for the U.S.”

What’s the economic value for the US? As a report by the Small Business Majority and Main Street

Alliance found, the Clean Air Act has stimulated technological innovations and jobs:

“The CAA has spurred important technological innovations, such as catalytic converters, that have helped fuel job growth in the U.S. economy. The environmental technology industry— spurred by environmental regulations and particularly the Clean Air Act—led to the creation of 1.3 million total jobs between 1977 and 1991. . .

Such innovations also allowed the U.S. to become a world leader in environmental control technologies—exports of environmental technologies grew by 130 percent between 1993 and 2003, and were valued at $30 billion in 2004.”

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, no doubt love is in the air. But inviting polluters into our legislative bed-chambers is likely to result in a lot more health-threatening pollution emitted into the air we all have to breathe. And that’s not going to warm voters’ hearts.