From the Wonk Room.
Fueled by the carbon pollution giant Koch Industries, Tea Party Republicans in New Hampshire are attempting to scuttle the state's involvement in the region's successful climate program. Robocalls from Koch's Americans for Prosperity group flooded the state over the weekend in support of a bill that would repeal participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has cut greenhouse and other pollution and created 1,130 jobs as a result of energy efficiency benefits. Rep. Sandra Keans (D-Rochester), told the Nashua Telegraph that AFP's calls were "sleazy" and deliberately false. "I have never seen such a cowardly perpetration pulled on the citizens of New Hampshire," Keans said.
On Wednesday, the state's overwhelmingly Republican House of Representatives voted to support HB 519 by a nearly party-line vote of 246 to 104 (13 Republicans voted against, two Democrats for). The bill has to pass through the finance committee before a final house vote and consideration by the senate. Gov. John Lynch (D-NH), who has touted the success of RGGI in making the air healthier while increasing economic prosperity, is expected to veto the bill, but Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature. The bill is being championed by extreme climate deniers:
Deputy Majority Leader Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) explained his vote: "Neither man nor cow is responsible for global warming."
Rep. James Garrity (R-Atkinson), chairman of the House's Science Technology and Energy Committee, claimed that RGGI relies on "shaky climate science."
Rep. Frank Holden (R-Lyndeboro), vice chairman of the House's Science, Technology and Energy Committee, wrote in the majority committee report that the "science of climate change is far from clear."
Rep. Andrew Manuse (R-Derry): "The reasons used to promote RGGI were based in false, exaggerated and highly politicized science."
In reality, with greenhouse pollution from fossil fuels building up in the atmosphere at an increasing rate, the world is now hotter than it has ever been in recorded history. New England is unambiguously warming. Fueled by the warmer world, catastrophic rainfall is rising, as "exemplified by the '100-year' floods that have occurred in southern New Hampshire in 2005, 2006, 2007."
Americans for Prosperity operatives gleefully praised the vote for pollution and global warming denial:
AFP VP for Policy Phil Kerpen hopes the vote "could deal the death blow to cap and trade both regionally and nationally."
AFP-NH Executive Director Corey Lewandowski: "We’re delighted by the strong House vote for consumers."
AFP-NJ Executive Director Steve Lonegan, an admitted global warming denier, called the vote "a significant victory for ratepayers all over the Northeast."
Lonegan is spearheading the Koch Industries effort to kill RGGI in New Jersey, after its multi-million-dollar campaign to kill climate action in California failed miserably.
Koch Industries and the politicians it supports have been making the argument that limits on carbon pollution have "always been about the money" and a plot to "collect some money from all of us to redistribute that wealth to a few of us."
Of course, they fail to mention that by letting Koch Industries profit from billions of tons of carbon pollution for free, the government has actually allowed the Koch brothers to "collect some money from all of us to redistribute that wealth to a few of us" -- namely themselves -- while the lives of everyone else are put at risk. For the Kochs, it has "always been about the money." For the rest of us, it's simply about respect for science and the health of our planet.