America’s First EPA Director Takes Republicans To The Woodshed For Denying Climate Science

Republicans are not going to like what Ronald Reagan’s Environmental Protection Agency Director said about them. That’s because the truth hurts.

When Richard Nixon created the EPA in 1970, he chose a Republican to lead the crusade against those who would poison our water, air, and land in the name of profit.

The man he tapped to lead the charge is William Ruckelshaus, who ushered in many of the environmental protections we enjoy today. Three years later, he would step down, only to be reappointed to the position ten years later by none other than conservative saint Ronald Reagan.

And guess what? Ruckelshaus is absolutely disgusted with how current Republicans treat the environment and deny climate science.

During an interview with The Guardian, the soon-to-be recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ripped Republicans a new one for ignoring climate change.

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“The [Obama] administration is trying to lead on climate change but they aren’t getting much support from the Republicans who have turned it into a partisan issue, which is too bad. If they are successful, that will set us back a fair bit. It won’t look good to the world and it won’t be good for the US.”

Indeed, the rest of the world is waiting for America to step up and take action before it’s too late to save the planet, but Republicans continue to hold us back from doing so because they want to protect the terrible business interests of polluters such as the Koch brothers.

“The Republicans aren’t helping,” Ruckelshaus continued.

“They are just responding to the convictions of the base that climate change isn’t a real problem and feeding that back to them – it’s a vicious cycle. Instead of treating it as a serious problem they are going through all the stages of denial. They are now at the stage of saying that it’s too expensive to do anything about climate change, which is no solution at all, they may as well just deny it’s a problem.”

The 83-year-old Ruckelshaus also had words for GOP presidential wannabes Donald Trump and Marco Rubio for denying that climate change is a problem.

“That comes down to not dealing with it. It’s concerning and I don’t understand why they don’t see this as an opportunity rather than something to be denied.”

The man who helped usher in the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts also talked about how bad pollution was in America before we had tighter environmental regulations, and then he took Republicans to the woodshed.

“There was huge resistance from the auto industry, they pushed back very hard. The difference from then until now is that the public demanded something be done about pollution and the government listened. The four major auto companies sent their CEOs to lobby against the Clean Air Act and they got about three votes in the Senate and not many more in the House. They thought they’d get it reversed in the House and they didn’t get anywhere.

In those days you could smell and touch the pollution, it was a bit like how China’s cities are today. That had a galvanizing effect. The greenhouse gases of today, you can’t see or taste or feel them. And it’s got way too partisan. The atmosphere today is completely different to the 1970s; Republicans’ arguments are all partisan driven, they aren’t based on any legitimate analysis of science.”

In other words, Americans need to stand up and elect a government that will listen to them and start vigorously fighting the causes of climate change so that future generations can enjoy the world.

Right now, however, we have state legislatures and a Congress full of conservatives who are fighting President Obama’s efforts to curb climate change through new regulations. Republicans have even filed a lawsuit claiming that the government has no power to regulate the emissions output of states. But Ruckelshaus disagrees.

“If the states didn’t meet standards to protect public health, the federal government stepped in, that’s how it was set up,” Ruckshaus said. “Congress is now threatening all sorts of things but if you don’t like the laws you rewrite them not complain about them. The EPA has to keep enforcing the law, they don’t have a choice. It would be underreach if they didn’t enforce the law and protect public health.”

Ruckelshaus should know, he was the first head of the newly founded agency. As he told the Guardian, it’s “exactly how the Clean Air Act was meant to work in the first place.”

Any politician who willfully denies science has no business running for public office. Americans do not need a government of fools who deny the facts that are right in front of their eyes. They need a government that values facts and evidence and then acts upon it. Anything less is lazy and irresponsible, and that’s precisely what Republicans are today.

Featured Image: Wikimedia