Wednesday marks the twentieth day in a row that Phoenix eclipses 110 degrees Fahrenheit—and the next seven days are projected to maintain the record-breaking horror. Thousands of Texans have been going to the emergency room because of heat illnesses. And a rotating cast of some 100 million Americans have been under heat wave and smog alerts for over a month.
Amid all that, Republicans are trying to stop the president from being able to declare a national emergency over climate change.
Last month, a group of Republicans introduced a bill, insultingly known as the “Real Emergencies Act,” to prevent President Joe Biden from mobilizing the nation to take necessary action to stave off life-threatening climate change.
As The Lever notes, “If Biden were to declare a national emergency over climate change, he could take aggressive action to cut fossil fuel production and speed up clean energy manufacturing by reimposing the ban on crude oil exports, halting oil and gas leasing, investing in public transit infrastructure, and requiring private companies to manufacture renewables.”
This kind of strong, collective action—to stand up against fat-cat fossil fuels, to make our public transportation actually serve the public, to make our systems and thus lives cleaner—is what Republicans are furiously opposing.
And these do-nothing Republicans are buttressed by their fossil fuel friends who have known for decades the climate and environmental risks of their vampiristic activities—and have kept on drilling anyway.
The bill was introduced by West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Texas Republican Representative August Pfluger.
As we noted Tuesday, Pfluger’s own district has been at the center of some of the most severe heat in the country—in, again, a state sending thousands of people to the emergency room. Yet he has been busy using taxpayer-funded time introducing legislation to stop action on climate change, or to pledge American support to Israel while it maintains an apartheid regime over Palestinians.
Pfluger has taken in over $1.1 million from the fossil fuel industry and another $28,050 from pro-Israel, election-denialist-supporting AIPAC. He has collected all that and more while only taking office three years ago.
As The Lever also points out, Pfluger is the House’s second-highest recipient of oil and gas money, behind none other than Speaker Kevin McCarthy. And the Texas Republican has a personal conflict of interest, being a director of “an energy company engaged in pipelines and infrastructure” and an investor in a pipeline company that celebrated the passage of another one of his bills to repeal a methane emissions tax.
The swamp is swamping.
Capito, meanwhile, is no different; she has been a major backer for the natural gas Mountain Valley Pipeline while also being invested in one of the companies constructing the whole thing.
Overall, the House and Senate sponsors of the bill to stop the government from declaring a climate emergency have collected at least some $5 million from fossil fuel interests in the past five years alone.
This—bought-out officials fighting to stop the government from calling a crisis sending thousands of people to the emergency room an “emergency”—is what is wrong with American politics. Not wokeness, not diversity, not gay people. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.