The Audacity of Doing Your Job: Lindsey Graham Steps Up For the EPA


I don’t know about you, but when elderly lesbian doppelganger slash Republican Lindsey Graham is one of the few Senators espousing a common-sense, ecologically-minded legislative opinion, I pay attention. Complete with a double spit-take and a heaping helping of “WHAAA?”

Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, firing the next salvo in the knock-out grudge match between Alaskans and the Earth, has sponsored a bill that would overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s right to regulate air pollutants. Even though that’s, you know, what the EPA does. The core argument is that Congress should be regulating environmental policy, not an actual environmental regulatory group. Here’s where the startling sanity of Lindsey Graham comes into play: “If we stop them [the EPA], are we going to do anything?” Three guesses and a prize of their choice to the lucky winner.

The Murkowski bill counts at least 40 co-sponsors (including Democrats from Arkansas, Nebraska, and Louisiana). Several other Democrats from coal states have not yet stated which way they will vote, leaving open the possibility that the bill will find the 51 votes it needs to pass.

Since Obama’s climate bill hasn’t yet passed, the EPA’s Clean Air Act is the only governmental means of cutting carbon emissions currently available. There’s also nothing stopping Congress from crafting its own energy legislation in addition to whatever actions the EPA takes. But a consensus on energy policy in Congress is a long way off. Depending on which way the vote goes this afternoon, the reality of effective greenhouse emissions regulations may become just as distant. With Democrats scrambling to protect corporate profits and Republicans speaking up for sensible environmental protection (and no legislative consensus or leadership in sight), the score could very well be Alaska 1, Earth 0.

Image: dbaron

Mallory Ortberg

Mallory resides in San Francisco, California. You can catch her weekly Sex By Numbers column.