UPDATED, JAN. 28, 11:04 A.M: Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn), who authored House Resolution 97, backed by Rohrabacher, Calvert and Campbell, issued this response to claims the bill supports polluters over the health of citizens: "The NRDC's connection between greenhouse gasses and asthma is a reach at best. The connection between EPA regulations and the loss of good jobs couldn't be more direct. Congress is considering how best to address greenhouse gasses. Until Congress acts, unelected bureaucrats at the EPA shouldn't be allowed to smother the American economy."
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 27, 1:50 P.M.: Here's a dirty-air solution backed by Dana Rohrabacher, Ken Calvert and John Campbell: Declare that pollutants aren't pollutants.
The OC congressmen, along with nine others in the state, are co-sponsors of House Resolution 97 Blackburn, legislation that would allow industrial plants to dump unlimited amounts of carbon dioxide into the air by changing the definition of a pollutant.
"The term 'air pollutant' shall not include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons or sulfur hexafluoride," the bill reads.
In a telephone press conference held this morning, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and advocacy coalition Health Care Without Harm outed 123 U.S. lawmakers whom they say "support polluters over the health of children" by backing bills that would stop the EPA from updating Clean Air Act standards.
According to the EPA, carbon pollution is linked to asthma because it contributes to warmer temperatures, making it easier for smog to develop. More than 24 million Americans suffer from asthma, including more than 7 million children.
The NRDC released a list of "Bad Air Bill Co-Sponsors," which reports the career campaign contributions each lawmaker has received from oil, gas, electric utilities, coal and mining companies. From the report: Rohrabacher received $77,000, Calvert collected $352,200, and Campbell got $13,000.
"The issue is pretty simple," says Dan Lashof, an environmental scientist and director of NRDC's Climate Center. "Elected officials need to make a decision. Are they gonna stand up for big polluters, or are they gonna side with the health of Americans?"
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Newly empowered Republicans have made blocking the Obama administration's climate rules one of their top priorities this year. They've called the EPA a "job killer," though many environmentalists believe that improving Clean Air Act standards would generate innovation and investment into new technology while protecting the environment.
Here's a graphic from the NRDC and Health Care Without Harm: