Republican Presidential Candidates Won’t Protect the EPA

Republican presidential candidates have pledged that one of their first acts as president would be to cut, if not eliminate, the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon emissions and pollution.

Michelle Bachmann, who has referred the EPA the “Job Killing Organization of America,” has promised that she “will begin with the EPA” when she is elected president and begins repealing programs she does not like.

Unlike Bachmann, Cain has only said that the complete elimination of the EPA “would be an option.” Instead, he favors creating government commissions to cut down on government bureaucracy, “starting with the EPA.” And just who would he appoint to these independent commissions? “The people I’m going to appoint to those commissions,” he told reporters a few weeks ago, “will be people and businessmen who have been abused by the EPA for the past decade or so.”

Tim Pawlenty also wants to get rid of the EPA, but he has an actual reason. Republicans in the House of Representatives prevented Congress from passing a law telling the EPA they had to regulate carbon emissions to combat global warming, and Pawlenty is upset that the EPA decided to do so anyway. “The Environmental Protection Agency is now regulating carbon emissions,” he told his supporters in a speech last month, “a policy rejected by Congress.” The policy may have been stonewalled in Congress, but it was embraced by the Supreme Court, who ruled just this week that only the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon emissions in the US.

Gingrich, still technically a Republican presidential candidate, has declared he wants to “replace, not reform, the EPA” with a brand new government agency called the “Environmental Solutions Agency.”

The rest of the Republican field isn’t quite as determined to terminate the agency. Huntsman and Romney, who has publicly admitted he thinks global warming exists, have opposed capping carbon emissions, but have not said they oppose the EPA.

And Ron Paul, opponent of every government entity from the Federal Reserve to the Department of Education, is no fan of the EPA but has admitted it’s “not high” on his list of priorities. [Talking Points Memo]

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