Congressional Malpractice

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

It seems that you can’t go anywhere on the Internet and not read an attack on the EPA by a Republican member of Congress. The HillMcClatchey    Unfortunately, I was not surprised how many of the Republican Congressmen were attacking the EPA and its attempts to control and eliminate air pollution.  However, I was surprised by how many of those Congressmen were physicians.

“What would you think if your physician told you, “Keep smoking because quitting would kill tobacco and health care jobs.” Or, “Don’t take your high blood pressure medicine, you can’t afford it.” And, “Don’t lose weight, no one has proven obesity is bad for you.”  That’s exactly the quality of medical advice we are getting from the 18 Republican physicians currently serving in Congress. Some of the most well known are the father and son team of Rep. Ron Paul and Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Tom Coburn. Almost all of these physician/Congressmen have been key soldiers in the Republican war on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling it a “job killer,” pronouncing relevant health science “unproven,” claiming we “can’t afford” their regulations.”  Truthout 

The “unproven” science that claims that air pollution is deadly comes from over 2,000 medical studies is significant in its numbers and content.  “In the last ten years, over 2,000 scientific studies published in the mainstream medical literature have revealed that air pollution has much of the same physiologic and disease consequence as first- and second-hand cigarette smoke.(1, 2) Those studies show that just as there is no safe number of cigarettes a person can smoke, there is no safe level of air pollution a person can breathe. Even pollution at “background” levels still causes health consequences, including increased mortality rates.(3, 4)” Dr. Brian Moench

Dr. Moench’s Truthout article provides a plethora of citations to studies that confirm the need for and importance of taking the steps that the EPA has outlined in its August, 2010 report titled, “The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1990-2020”.  EPA  I guess some people can deny the science behind the studies and the EPA report.  We have seen the climate change deniers put ear plugs in their ears when legitimate and voluminous studies are presented.  Maybe I am naive, but I cannot understand how medical doctors can claim that we can’t afford the regulations needed to save lives of adults and children.

Over 1,800 medical doctors, nurses and health care professionals signed a letter to Congress imploring the Congressional members to honor the original intent of the Clean Air Act and allow science to trump politics by implementing the needed regulations to save lives.  “The result is saved lives and improved quality of life for millions of Americans. But the job is not finished. Communities across the nation still suffer from poor air quality. Low income families face the impacts of toxic air pollution every day. From smog causing asthma attacks to toxic mercury harming children’s neurological development, far too many people face a constant threat from the air they breathe and the impacts of climate change. Please fulfill the promise of clean, healthy air for all Americans to breathe. Support full implementation of the Clean Air Act and resist any efforts to weaken, delay or block progress toward a healthier future for all Americans.”

As someone who has Asthma, this fight to allow for the full implementation of the Clean Air Act has special meaning.  I can only hope that Congress, including the Doctors who are in Congress will hear the call to do whatever is necessary to save lives. Politics should never get in the way of common sense and achievable changes and improvements in the air that we breathe.

Do you believe in the science behind the Clean Air Act and if not, where is the science to refute the claims of over 2,000 studies from all over the globe?  Is there any health issue that can trump the vitriolic politics of our time?  As quoted above, the original Clean Air Act and its amendments enjoyed bipartisan support.  Why can’t that same bipartisan support be found for the full implementation of the Clean Air Act knowing it will save lives and create jobs?  How many more must die or suffer before political gain is put aside?




178 thoughts on “Congressional Malpractice”

  1. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do think that you need to write more on this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but generally folks don’t talk about such issues. To the next! Kind regards!!

  2. No matter what you do pollution is going to carry on, we are doing much better then we did 15 years ago, but we still have a log way to go. I hope that we can figure out how to live and control out pollution!

  3. Hi! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the great information you have got here on this post. I am returning to your site for more soon.

  4. “No Duty to Protect” makes clear that there is no functional purpose for most government agencies that currently do exist under the theory that protection of the public is relevant; that makes all agencies redundant along with faith based initiatives, the police, the FBI, and the CIA. It may well make defunct the military if not actively in a war, and makes service during peace time redundant.

    This has never been a position consistent with the right to life, liberty, and property, and equal protection that has been taught are the fundamentals of the Constitution. Further, it may make the Department of Immigration irrevelant, and the Department of Health functionally extraneous to the American public.

    If there is no duty to protect, doesn’t that deny the function of the courts installed to protect justice interests of the public? And preemptive removal of children from families would be illegal from a judicial perspective – if there is no duty to protect.

    How this ruling crept into public law is a mystery because the public has always believed that government is there to serve the people, not themselves. And usually, that means public protection that justifies the construction of all government agencies. Without the need, why have them? Lay them off just like corporations do as redundant.

  5. Another reason to keep the EPA, especially after the Supreme Court ruled they are responsible for CO2 regulation:

    Here, using a fully coupled model, we show that this criterion systematically overestimates the temperature threshold and that the Greenland ice sheet is more sensitive to long-term climate change than previously thought. We estimate that the warming threshold leading to a monostable, essentially ice-free state is in the range of 0.8–3.2 °C, with a best estimate of 1.6 °C. By testing the ice sheet’s ability to regrow after partial mass loss, we find that at least one intermediate equilibrium state is possible, though for sufficiently high initial temperature anomalies, total loss of the ice sheet becomes irreversible.

    (Journal Nature – Climate Change). “Irreversible” is a word to take note of.

    1. “The story was about air pollution, not climate change …”
      They are, most likely, inextricably intertwined, one producing the other.
      Dredd gets it.”

      The story is about the continuance of the EPA and its’ effectiveness. Do you think the EPA should be abolished, climate change notwithstanding? Give us your script for that.

  6. Mike S what Dredd said

    Mike Spindell 1, March 14, 2012 at 10:52 am


    Another “threadjack”. Well played. The story was about air pollution, not climate change, but again it becomes all about Bdaman.
    “The story was about air pollution, not climate change …”

    They are, most likely, inextricably intertwined, one producing the other.

    Dredd gets it.

  7. Jet Propolsion Lab on Sea level

    Like mercury in a thermometer, ocean waters expand as they warm. This, along with melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, drives sea levels higher over the long term. For the past 18 years, the U.S./French Jason-1, Jason-2 and Topex/Poseidon spacecraft have been monitoring the gradual rise of the world’s ocean in response to global warming.

    While the rise of the global ocean has been remarkably steady for most of this time, every once in a while, sea level rise hits a speed bump. This past year, it’s been more like a pothole: between last summer and this one, global sea level actually fell by about a quarter of an inch, or half a centimeter.

    Keep in mind that Jason 1 and 2 have only been monitoring for the last 18 years prior to that it was manual recordings prone to error and or adjustments.

  8. NOAA and Tornado’s

    With increased national Doppler radar coverage, increasing population, and greater attention to tornado reporting, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports over the past several decades. This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency. To better understand the true variability and trend in tornado frequency in the U.S., the total number of strong to violent tornadoes (EF3 to EF5 category on the Enhanced Fujita scale) can be analyzed. These are the tornadoes that would have likely been reported even during the decades before Doppler radar use became widespread and practices resulted in increasing tornado reports. The bar chart below indicates there has been little trend in the frequency of the strongest tornadoes over the past 55 years.

    Overall, most tornadoes (around 77 percent) in the U.S. are considered weak (EF0 or EF1) and about 95 percent of all U.S. tornadoes are below EF3 intensity. The remaining small percentage of tornadoes are categorized as violent (EF3 and above). Of these violent twisters, only a few (0.1 percent of all tornadoes) achieve EF5 status, with estimated winds over 200 mph and nearly complete destruction. However, given that on average over 1000 tornadoes hit the U.S. each year, that means that 20 can be expected to be violent and possibly one might be incredible (EF5).

    Improved tornado observation practices have led to an increase in the number of reported weaker tornadoes, and in recent years the number of EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes have become more prevelant in the total number of reported tornadoes. In addition, even today many smaller tornadoes still may go undocumented in places with low populations or inconsistent communication facilities.

  9. There are more damn molecules besides CO2 that cause problems in the atmosphere and free water. Not all of them cause climate change, some are just plain poison; however, there are many that affect temperatures.

    Go cuddle up with Eliza.

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