Some Quirky Science

March 14, 2011
Most congressional committee mark ups of bills are not exactly the most exciting TV. Yet, during the mark up of the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R.910), a bill that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouses gases under the Clean Air Act and allow polluters to continue to spew unlimited amounts of carbon and other pollution into our air, a little dark humor arose. The overwhelming consensus among scientists about the danger and reality of climate change, and the past support on both sides of the congressional aisle for addressing this threat, left one committee member in a quippy mood. As some members of the committee challenged the scientific underpinnings of climate change and questioning the need to regulate greenhouse gases, Representative Markey (D-MA) responded with the following: "Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet. However, I won't physically rise, because I'm worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room. I won't call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun. Instead, I'll embody Newton's third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America's importation of foreign oil. This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate. It will be a legislative Schrodinger's cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process! Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise. And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair's amendment pile." Unfortunately, H.R. 910 has passed out of the subcommittee and is expected to come up for a full House vote sometime in the next few weeks. You can take action and encourage your Member of Congress to vote against this bill or similar bills that would block or delay the EPA's ability to continue to regulate the nation's biggest polluters.

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