Cross-posted from the Wonk Room.
Speaking at the Center for American Progress Action Fund today, House Energy Committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) railed against the toxic influence of Koch Industries on efforts to fight global warming. Waxman, who fought polluters to pass the Clean Air Act of 1990, is dismayed by the level of outright science denial among the Republican Party today, exemplified by their votes to slash and burn environmental protection, and the Upton-Inhofe bill to reverse the scientific finding that carbon pollution threatens public health:
It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries think.
Watch a compilation of Waxman’s remarks:
“Science denial, partisanship, and the rising power of special interests are deeply intertwined,” Waxman said, “and they feed off each other.” He explained the vicious circle fueled by Koch Industries, the private petrochemical conglomerate, and the Republican Party. “Koch Industries benefits immensely from the rollback of EPA regulations, so it backs Republican candidates who advocate this position. And it funds groups that attack science and it organizes anti-regulation demonstrations. Republican strategists see a partisan advantage in attacking efforts to address climate change, so that leads to a growing acceptance of science denial.”
In the question-and-answer period, Waxman was asked why industry is split on climate change, with some companies supporting action, and others opposed. After discussing how he has worked with coal and oil interests to bring them on board to action, he returned to David and Charles Koch:
The Koch brothers, I think, are unique, because they’re not just interested in their financial well-being, they’re interested in ideology. They are uniquely involved in the right wing of this country. They are financing the Tea Party movement, and the Republican Party, and they’re making the politics pay off for them both ideologically and economically.
“So there are industries that we’re never going to completely satisfy,” Waxman concluded. “We’ll do our best to hear their concerns and try to be responsive to them. But if their position is nothing, no way, no how, it’s hard to compromise with that kind of position.”