A brief history lesson

By now, you may have heard that Rep. Fred Upton’s efforts to gut the Clean Air Act are opposed by the majority of his constituents.

And now, according to Politico, California Sen. Barbara Boxer says Upton, who chairs the House energy committee doesn’t fully understand the history and importance of the law he wants to undo.

“All those bills he’s going after, the Clean Air Act, that was signed by Richard Nixon. I don’t think he gets the fact we have had our greatest period of expansion since our landmark environmental laws were passed.”

Upton’s response doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence:

“Nixon? The Clean Air Act was like 1990,” he said.

Reminded there was indeed a 1970 Clean Air Act, he replied, “Oh, right. I was in junior high school.”

Upton was probably thinking of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Those rules, which tackled ozone depletion, acid rain and other types of pollution, were based on proposals made by President George H.W. Bush (who, legend has it, was also a Republican) and passed with broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Either way, Upton’s dismissal of both the 1970 and 1990 legislation manages to prove Boxer’s point that he wants to “reverse decades of bipartisan compromise on making sure our families are healthy.” Not once, but twice, in a single sentence.

One thought on “A brief history lesson

  1. Upton should read the report by the Small Business Majority and The Main Street Alliance on the economic benefits of the Clean Air Act. It’s available at http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/pdf/Benefits_of_CAA_100410.pdf. He should also read the report by Ceres and the University of Massachusetts on the job creation potential of two forthcoming EPA rules, the Clean Air Transport Rule and the Utility Boiler MACT Rule (shorthand for a much longer title). That report is at http://www.ceres.org/Document.Doc?id=662. The legacy of the Clean Air Act is one of outstanding societal benefits in every way, including jobs growth and other “spin-off” benefits.