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Republicans Really Don't Care About the Environment—And They Want to Make Sure You Know That

Republicans would like to remind voters that they really, truly don’t care about the environment. 

Later this week, the House GOP will vote on a package of energy bills that should look familiar. The bills approve the Keystone XL pipeline, open up federal land to oil and gas drilling, limit EPA rulemaking and block coal plant climate rules, expedite exports of liquefied natural gas, bar new regulations on fracking, and more. Many of these proposals have individually drawn veto threats from the White House. This exercise serves as a reminder before the midterm elections, to erase any remaining doubt where Democrats stand on energy issues (a tactic both parties do all the time).

But it’s also a reminder that the GOP has no plans to adjust policies anytime soon to reflect the reality of what’s changed over the last six years.

It’s looking likely that the GOP’s 2016 energy platform will remain equally stale. Yesterday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal—who wants to be a “leading thinker” for 2016—released an energy plan that approves Keystone XL, opening up federal lands to oil and gas, and blocking the EPA climate rule. His plan mentions the GOP’s favorite punching bag, Solyndra, and defends the people who deny climate change—which is a “religion for many on the Left.” Jindal, as well as Marco Rubio and many of the other Republicans possibly running in 2016, would like to see the U.S. do even less on climate change, not more.

Most of these proposals have been out there for years. It was called the 2012 presidential election. Since then, solar and wind energy have grown, states are moving forward with renewable portfolio standards, natural gas drilling is increasingly linked to contaminated water and even earthquakes, and coastal cities are taking action to guard against climate change. Little of this changing reality is reflected in what Republicans continue to offer.

Rebecca Leber

The News

POVERTY AND THE UNINSURED: The Census Bureau reports we told you about yesterday had some good news: The child poverty rate dropped, from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent. And the available evidence confirms what private surveys had already shown: Obamacare is significantly reducing the number of Americans without health insurance. But median income didn’t improve substantially and the overall poverty rate remained well below where it was before the recession—a sign that the recovery, although real, is very slow. The best summary you’ll find is the statement by Robert Greenstein, president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. For more information on the health insurance numbers, read Jeffrey Young in the Huffington Post and Sarah Kliff at Vox. 

FERGUSON: The grand jury considering whether to bring charges against officer Darren Wilson, for the killing of Michael Brown, got a sixty day extension. That means it has until early January to decide. (Christine ByersSt. Louis Post-Dispatch)

THE NFL SCANDALS: Radisson hotels announced it was suspending sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings, because of the Adrian Peterson scandal. Anheuser-Busch announced that it was “not yet satisfied” with the league’s response to recent controversies, although it’s yet to pull advertising dollars. (Darren

CLIMATE: Obama and large corporations announced voluntary commitments to move away from a popular chemical coolant in refrigerators and air conditions, in order to curb the greenhouse gas. (Joby Warrick, Washington Post)

Chart of the Day: Kevin Drum highlights a new report from Media Matters on the number of segments Fox News has aired on Benghazi in the 20 months since the deadly attack. Guess which host leads the way? (Mother Jones)

Articles worth reading:

Why the midterms matter: Steve Benen reminds everybody that control of the Senate means the ability to block judicial appointments—for lower federal courts and, yes the Supreme Court. (MSNBC)

Head trauma and violence: Dan Diamond explores possible links, and whether they explain all the pro athletes getting arrested these days. (Forbes)

The Vatican Liberal: Andrew Sullivan continues to marvel at Pope Francis and his willingness to reshape Church orthodoxy on marriage and other issues. (The Dish)

News you can use, if you have an iPhone: Alison Griswold crunches the numbers, to see whether you should pay full price for the new iPhone if it lets you hold onto your unlimited data plan. (Slate)

Quote of the Day: “…why would a preschooler not cry when he is beaten? It might be because of what has happened when he has been beaten, and when he has cried, before.” (Amy

Stories we’ll be watching:

There should be announcements and studies on climate change each day, leading up to the United Nations Climate Summit next week. And more developments from pro football.


Does corporal punishment hurt kids in the long term? Danny Vinik puts that question to a top researcher on child development. Also, Rebecca Leber catches Bobby Jindal evading a question about whether he believes in evolution: “I’m not an evolutionary biologist,” Jindal said.