Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fifteen States Have Polluter-Driven Resolutions To Deny Climate Threat

I've finally started what I've been thinking about doing for awhile. I've started a folder "backward states" to keep track of the states to avoid when I escape from Georgia. And this is the first entry. Of course, any state might have some kooks in the legislature who might try to get something like this passed. It will be informative to see which, if any, actually pass.

Yesterday, the South Dakota legislature passed a resolution telling public schools to teach “balance” about the “prejudiced” science of climate change by a vote of 37-33. Earlier language that ascribed “astrological” influences to global warming was stripped from the final version.

This act of conspiracy-driven ideology is hardly alone — a Wonk Room investigation has found at least fifteen state legislatures attempting to prevent limits on greenhouse gas pollution. The states of Alabama and Utah have already adopted resolutions calling for the overturn of the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming endangerment finding, with legislators in thirteen more states in tow. Several resolutions argue that the overwhelming scientific consensus on the threat of manmade global warming is actually a conspiracy:

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Every resolution makes the false claim that protecting citizens from hazardous climate pollution would hurt the economy, instead of recognizing the potential of a green recovery. Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Alaska lawmakers talk about being “dependent” on the coal and oil industries whose lobbyists are fighting climate action. Several of the resolutions, drafted early last year, call on Congress to reject the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House of Representatives in June but has languished in the Senate. The Alaska and West Virginia resolutions support Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) effort to rewrite the Clean Air Act (S.J.Res. 26), and Alabama’s resolution calls for the passage of Rep. Earl Pomeroy’s (D-ND) similar effort (H.R. 4396).

The most legally bizarre resolution is Arizona state senator Sylvia Allen’s (R-AZ) “tenther” argument that the U.S. Congress does not have the Constitutional authority to regulate greenhouse gas pollution. Allen also believes the Earth is 6000 years old. The other Arizona resolution, along with the Kentucky, Virginia, and Washington resolutions, would attempt to block state enforcement of global warming rules.

These efforts to overturn the Clean Air Act and replace science with conspiracy theories are being supported by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national organization that brings conservative state lawmakers together with industry lobbyists. ALEC promotes a resolution opposing the endangerment finding drafted by its Natural Resources Task Force, which includes over 120 lawmakers from around the nation and a similarly sized group of corporate representatives. Although ALEC does not have an official position on the validity of climate science, the organization is “actively involved in helping people get together and share ideas,” a representative told ThinkProgress. For example, the spring ALEC task force meeting will feature Exxon Mobil-backed global warming denier Paul Driessen


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