Boehner Tweet on Plastics Sums Up Republican Disdain for the Environment

In hardly the biggest news story of the day, but one that really irks me, House Speaker John Boehner tweeted this morning, “The new majority — plasticware is back.”  He’s referring to the move by the Republican majority to eliminate deposed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s initiative to green the House of Representatives.  The initiative included — among other things — the use of biodegradable trays, flatware and coffee cups in place of traditional plastic and styrofoam in the House cafteria.

Now I get that greening the Congress is largely a symbolic move and I even get that part of the program — to require the composting of the biodegradable products — wasn’t apparently energy efficient although it did keep the waste out of landfills.   But the glee with which Boehner made the announcement is obviously emblematic of a much larger agenda:  denying that climate change is occuring and indeed opposing any efforts to take even common sense steps to reduce energy usage.    As the Guardian reports,

Next on the Republican agenda of environmental retro moves? Lightbulbs. House Republicans introduced a bill last week to repeal the government’s decision to phase out the old energy-inefficient bulbs, which was due to start in 2011.

And, of course, the House Energy and Commerce  Committee is leading the charge to strip authority from the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.  That move would be okay if the Republicans had a plan to replace Clean Air Act regulation with a comprehensive bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  But that would require that most Republicans actually believe in the science of climate change — and Energy and Commerce Chair Upton just had a change of heart,  now saying he does not believe humans are playing a role in the warming of the globe.   I suppose the fact that he acknowledges that the climate is actually changing is a step up from committee member John Shimkus (R-Ill), who says that climate change won’t destroy the earth because God told Noah after flooding the earth that he wouldn’t destroy the earth again and only God decides when the earth will end.

So back to Boehner’s tweet today.  It’s a small statement but it’s part of a much, much larger problem:  not only is the House of Representatives unwilling to do anything about climate change but they’re proud of themselves for turning their backs on science.  And our future.

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Reader Comments

8 Replies to “Boehner Tweet on Plastics Sums Up Republican Disdain for the Environment”

  1. Another psychologically interesting part of all this is that Boehner and others seem to think that incandescent lighting and disposable plastic utensils are longstanding cultural traditions rather than fairly recent historical developments aided by government intervention.

  2. I don’t understand why Republicans think that saving energy, keeping waste out of landfills and oceans, and generally trying to do better by our planet HAS to be connected to climate change. I mean, my best friends don’t believe in climate change BUT they keep their thermostats very low, buy organic and local, have a vegetable garden, are starting to compost and recycle, etc. I mean, I just want to say to people, use common sense. Being less wasteful and not trashing the earth is the smart thing to do, whether you believe in climate change or not.

  3. I usually get either sick or upset when I notice news story correlations.
    Stuff like BP effectively getting in on the first deep-water drilling contract since the disaster they caused less than a year ago through their almost half ownership of contract award winning Noble Oil coming in the same week as news stories about alarming numbers of baby dolphins washing ashore in the Gulf and oil cleanup sub-contractors still not paid is sick making.
    However, once every blue moon or so a corollary pops up that just down right funny.
    Check this story out that was posted 2 days later.
    Can we get a little Midol on the hill please?

  4. In my experience, Republicans are more concerned about economic costs and efficiency than Democrats. Certainly, there is economic value in conserving energy, using biodegradeable products, and becoming more green. The average Republican might even agree with me, but it seems said Republican politician has a vested monetary interest elsewhere.

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

READ more