Cross-posted from the Wonk Room.

Opposing Republican efforts to forbid climate regulations, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that the science of human-made climate change is “unequivocally true.” Rockefeller, a strong defender of his state’s coal industry, spoke out on the Senate floor against an amendment submitted to a small business bill by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the ability to regulate greenhouse pollution.

McConnell introduced the amendment, drafted by global warming denier Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), as Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) passed companion legislation out of the House energy committee with unanimous Republican support. After stating that the EPA is “created to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” as the U.S. Supreme Court found, Rockefeller described his arguments with coal-industry climate deniers:

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I have been saying to the West Virginia Coal Association — which for the most part doesn’t believe in climate science, they don’t believe there’s a climate problem — I have been saying to them for a number of years that that’s wrong, in my judgment. The science is true. The science is unequivocally true.

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Rockefeller is swimming against the toxic tide of science denial in Congress.

Unfortunately, Rockefeller himself is living in a land of economic fantasy. He supports legislation to establish a moratorium on climate action by the EPA until after the 2012 elections. He argues that would give the coal industry more time to develop economically viable carbon capture and sequestration technology. It is nonsense to believe that the coal industry would develop major technological breakthroughs in a few years without any economic incentive to do so, without any regulatory mandate or price on carbon pollution. As Rockefeller is a self-described “mature public servant,” perhaps he’ll accept the unequivocal economic reality too, and stop his dangerous fight against climate action.

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