Air Quality

Published on July 16th, 2016 | by Aisha Abdelhamid


Clean Power Plan Called Un-American by Rep Bill Johnson (R-OH)

July 16th, 2016 by  

Originally published on

Taking cues from Trump’s exhibitionist tirades, Republicans are ramping up the rhetoric against the EPA. A recent House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting was the latest venue for Republican ranting that climaxed in a condemnation of the Clean Power Plan as “un-American.”

Janet McCabe, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator, was called as a witness to a review of the EPA’s regulatory rules during the present administration.

Some members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee complained that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan is “overly burdensome on the American economy.” Rules to reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector, it was charged, are “part of the EPA’s longstanding war on industry.”

Due to repeated belligerence and bullying on the part of Republican members, the Committee Chair was frequently asked by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) to intervene in the “badgering” of Janet McCabe.

Raking McCabe over the coals for several minutes of Trump-like theatrics, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) was especially fired up with ridiculous indignation. “It’s draining the lifeblood out of our businesses,” McCabe scolded. “Between the Clean Power Plan, the waters of the U.S., and others that you folks have gotten. The hundreds of billions of dollars that you guys are sucking out of our economy every year that could be going toward job creation.”

Concluding a prolonged rant against the Clean Power Plan, Johnson stated, “I think it’s absurd, I think it’s irresponsible. Quite frankly, Ms. McCabe, I think it’s un-American.”

So, the Problem is President Obama … not Climate Change?

Reacting strongly to Johnson’s belligerence, Illinois Democrat Representative Rush objected. “Mr. Chairman,” Rush countered, “there is no place in this hearing for a witness, being from the EPA or whatever agency … to be called un-American.”

However, Republicans hold sway in the current House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Committee Chair Ed Whitfield (R-KY) leads the pack. “There are every strong feelings on this issue,” retorted Chairman Whitfield to Rush, “because many people … believe the EPA is exceeding its legal authority under the direction of a president who is trying to impose his will on climate change around the world.”

That’s a pretty ridiculous spin on climate change. Whitfield doesn’t recognize that climate change is imposing its will on the world … he charges President Obama with imposing his will on climate change around the world! This is the real problem, according to Whitfield, Johnson, and fellow Republican climate-denying committee members.

Developed after the EPA found public health risks increasing due to greenhouse gas emissions, the Clean Power Plan has been a major problem for Big Business. As the science of global warming has become better understood, President Obama has promoted the rise of EPA oversight. Expanding current regulations or creating new rules, the EPA has been instrumental in clarifying standards for protecting US water and air quality.

An ongoing legal battle in the Supreme Court is attempting to strip EPA authority by reverting to standards covered in the Clean Air Act, a law passed by Congress in 1990.

Is the Clean Power Plan Un-American?

Climate Reality Project Founder US Vice President Al Gore. Credit:

Climate Reality Project Founder US Vice President Al Gore. Credit:

Is the Clean Power Plan un-American? Especially in these exciting days of Trump-driven media melodrama, “un-American” is a mutually exclusive term. What is un-American? In America, we are free to be anything we want to be – from disrespectful, ranting, money-grubbing bullies, to responsible global citizens in favor of environmental accountability.

If you’d like to take a more active stance in support of the Clean Power Plan, you might like to download the Clean Power Plan Activist kit from Climate Reality Project. The kit gives lots of great tips on the best ways to communicate your views and offers sample graphics and social media posts you can share with your friends and family.

To help you get more inspired about the Clean Power Plan’s significance, the activist kit explains:

  • The Clean Power Plan will lead to public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $34 billion to $54 billion per year in 2030, far outweighing the costs.
  • Reducing emissions and reducing exposure to particle pollution and ozone in 2030 will avoid a projected:
    – Up to 3,600 premature deaths
    – 90,000 asthma attacks in children
    – Up to 1,700 heart attacks
    – 1,700 hospital admissions
    – 300,000 missed school and work days
  • Every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan will generate up to $4 in health benefits for American families from soot and smog reductions alone.

Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Carbon Emissions

Even though the US has limits on arsenic and mercury emissions from power plants, there is currently no national limit set on carbon emissions. Big business uses every dirty trick in the political playbook to avoid cleaning up the carbon emissions it is responsible for producing. Calling the EPA Clean Power Plan un-American is clearly self-defeating hypocrisy.

Personally, I’d like to put a little spin on House Energy and Commerce Committee member Bill Johnson’s polluted rant against the EPA and shove it back at him: “Take a look at Canada’s power plants – The ‘hundreds of billions of dollars’ that YOU GUYS are sucking out of our economy every year could be going toward CARBON CAPTURE.”

Canada's SaskPower Boundary Dam coal-fired power plant is retrofitted for Carbon Capture and Storage. Credit: SaskPower

Canada’s SaskPower Boundary Dam coal-fired power plant is retrofitted for Carbon Capture and Storage. Credit: SaskPower

Top image: Republican Rep. from Ohio Bill Johnson attacks EPA’s Janet McCabe at recent House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting. Credit: The House Energy & Commerce Committe, via

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About the Author

is a freelance lifestyle and environmental science writer currently living in Vancouver, BC. Her interests include environmental conservation, climate science, renewable energy, faith-based environmental activism, green building, creative lifestyles, and healthy living.

  • jfreed27

    Could he pass a high school physics test? His scorn plus $2 will get you a cup of coffee.

  • Julian Cox

    I respect the passion but it’s the wrong battle ground.

    It is not possible to clean up the USA without US energy independence. This is not about who says the nicest things about the environment or argues the best about the health benefits of emissions reductions.

    The US fiscal and trade deficits and the value of the US dollar itself is linked to Foreign Oil. Anybody in politics that tells you that they are a fan of green energy but does not come clean about these facts is lying to your face.

    Without first dealing with energy independence and the deficits there is no United States without oil. It will collapse economically and any attempt to defend the US dollar will simply result in s world war.

    For this reason, no matter what, and I wish I did not have to be the messenger and have to take the BS for it. As an ardent but pragmatic environmentalist, there is no choice. If it is the Environment and Climate Change in particular that concerns you, as indeed it concerns me ad my number one concern: The correct answer for tackling climate change is Trump.

    Kindly note that there are plenty of clueless morons in the Republican Party but none of them are as dangerous for the environment as Clinton. The insurmountable danger is not oil, it is the Wall Street / Central Banking national debt driven economy that demands the existence of a global oil and war trade by absolute public deception if necessary. That is the true calling of the Clinton campaign for POTUS.

    It is Trump that is calling for cessation of the oil trade with Saudi Arabia and total US energy independence. It is only in an energy independent economic climate that renewables will win. And they will win in that economic environment in a way that they will not under a regime seeking to perpetuate the Petrodollar.

    Anything else you have been told or think you know on this subject either recognizes the sense of what I just said or it is mistaken. Please do not shoot the messenger. We as environmentalists need to know this if the outcome matters more than words and it does matter more than words.


    • Bob_Wallace

      “The correct answer for tackling climate change is Trump.”

      Right. We elect a climate change denier who has promised to reopen coal mines and coal plants.

      That’s the route to tackling climate change.

      Horse shit. Just plain horse shit….

      • Julian Cox

        I’m sorry, it’s first principles. We are not going to talk down sea levels and climate denial won’t make coal competitive with wind and falling knife prices of solar.

        Better Trump BSs coal miners than Clinton BSs you while the latter is angling for a war with Russia in a desperate last ditch attempt to protect the Petrodollar and the former plans to end Foreign Oil alltigether and expose domestic production to honest competition with renewables that are cheaper.

        That is while dropping Tesla’s corporation tax and fighting for Tesla’s Export markets.

        At least the coal miners will have the possibility of mining graphite for batteries or maybe something useful like nickel and cobalt.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Better Trump BSs coal miners than Clinton BSs you while the latter is angling for a war with Russia in a desperate last ditch attempt to protect the Petrodollar and the former plans to end Foreign Oil alltigether and expose domestic production to honest competition with renewables that are cheaper.”

          Whatever you are smoking should be outlawed. And I’m saying that as someone who thinks most drugs should be legalized.

          • Julian Cox

            It’s called independent thinking from first principles

            Very often it produces results that are contrary to herd mentality and very often people want to ban it regardless of the fact that it is way more useful for getting to the truth whenever the truth matters – I think it does mater to tell the truth on matters of human species survival.

            Woud you really prefer if I was knowingly wrong but very agreeable? If so how would that help?

      • Julian Cox

        Bob. I am not saying these things to upset people for the sake of it.

        Having run the math, the picture that emerges is paradoxical to received wisdom.

        Choice A. Clinton.

        This appears to be to fool environmentalists into providing a mandate to Wall Street to carry on with the Petrodollar economy.

        Choice B. Trump.

        This appears to be to fool climate change deniers into providing a mandate to change the basis of the heart of the global economy from regime change wars and Petrodollar Treasury bonds (Oil debt) to a manufacturing and trading economy that drastically favors the economics of green energy and green vehicles.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Oh, for FSM’s sake.

          Why in the world would any sane person think that Trump could rebuild America’s manufacturing economy? Do you think he would build a wall completely around the country so that we’d have no option but to build stuff because that’s the only way we’d have anything?

          I’m sorry Julian. You’re engaging in crazy thinking. Batshit crazy.

  • Robert Pollock

    I’ve watched the EPA’s performance with curiosity since their inception. They started about the time of car emissions, acid rain, and water quality. They had clout, so the industry responded with lobbyists, who gained control over the agency during the ’90s, or so it looked to me. I used to say the EPA wasn’t there to protect the Environment, it was there to decide how much damage was too much, and allow anything up to that point. Of course lobbyists actually did the deciding of how much was too much.
    Now they seem to have their feet again, but I’m never sure whose side they’re on.

    • Julian Cox

      Thus far under Obama (whom I supported) the USA has imported 22 Billion barrels of foreign oil. Prosecuted a regime change for oil in Lybia, displaced millions of Syrians through seeking another regime change for oil, cut a Petrodollar deal with Iran, sanctioned Venezuela for oil to the point of starvation, lied to the public about the CH4 emissions from fracking, turned a blind eye to lies about the well to wheel emissions of hydrogen – funded publicity stunts like CCS (carbon capture and storage) while lying to the public by omission of the fact that CO2 thus captured is used for EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery) by pressurizing depleted stripper oil wells in Texas to push out more oil.

      It is not reasonable to expect a totally corrupt system that lies to the public so profusely like this to uncorrupt itself voluntarily.

      • Bob_Wallace

        And negotiated a drastic improvement in CAFE standards for cars plus bringing standards to trucks and SUVs for the first time.

        And tweaked an economic stimulus program in order to get a lot of low efficient “clunkers” off the highways.

        And supported wind and solar installations.

        And supported EVs.

        And closed our least efficient coal plants.

        And directed the Interior Department to permit and expedite 10 gigawatts of wind and solar projects on public lands by 2020.

        And expanded the president’s Better Building Challenge, helping buildings cut waste to become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020.
        And set a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 through efficiency standards set for appliances and federal buildings.

        And directed the EPA to set regulations for methane emissions.

        • Bob_Wallace

          How about a more complete list with link?

          Doubled federal spending on clean energy research.

          Pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars.

          Created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.

          Reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush era stance that climate change was a “hoax.”

          Fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.

          Required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption.

          Under Obama, our dependence on foreign oil has dropped to its lowest rate since 1985, and continues to drop.

          Meanwhile, oil consumption is way down because of reduced driving and higher mileage standards.

          Improved siting, review and permitting stations for power plants, in an attempt to seriously improve the nation’s electric grid.

          Reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic.

          Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid and electric vehicles.

          Established a quadrennial review of our energy infrastructure, to encourage a modernization of the grid, and to encourage the transition away from fossil fuel use.

          Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles.

          Encouraged BP to pay $20 billion to establish Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, to reduce the need for taxpayer funds to be used for compensation and clean up. (Note: it took 20 years to get $1.3 billion for the Exxon Valdez spill. )

          Oversaw and pushed through an amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

          Actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills.

          Became the first President to simply say “Climate Change is a fact,” and set up the first federal government protocols for dealing with the impacts of climate change.

          Initiated Criminal and Civil inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

          Asserted federal legal supremacy to bar Texas from authorizing new refinery permits on its own.

          Set up new, stricter standards limiting power plant emissions.

          Strengthened the Endangered Species Act.

          Strengthened protection for wildlife, and expanded enforcement of laws against wildlife trafficking.

          Obama EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year.

          Through the EPA, attemped to take steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans.

          Through new EPA regulations, he created a pretext for closing the dirtiest power plants in the country, by limiting emissions of mercury and other toxic gasses.

          Increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10%

          Announced greatly improved commercial fuel efficiency standards.

          Signed a bill that allowed for increased regulations of a large number of chemicals and other toxic materials, allowing the EPA to make the use of certain toxic materials more transparent.

          Announced a huge increase in average fuel economy standards from 27.5mpg in 2010 to 35.5mpg starting in 2016 and 54.5 starting in 2025

          Facilitated investment in industrial energy efficiency to create jobs and strengthen US manufacturing while saving businesses $100 billion over a decade.

          Set up the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to oversee Gulf Coast restoration efforts after the 2010 BP oil spill. The money to fund the restoration efforts comes from fines against BP.

          Engaged in the most comprehensive plan to combat climate change in a generation.

          Ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021.

          Oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers.

          Guided a 418% increase in solar power capacity between 2010 and 2014.

          As of May 2015, 74% of new electrical capacity was provided by solar and wind power.

          Bypassed Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions.

          Oversaw a tripling in the use of wind power to generate electricity. The US now leads the world in increased wind power capacity.

          Ordered the federal government to incorporate climate resilience and climate science into all international development in which the United States engages.

          Fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact fuel efficiency standards that exceeded federal standards.

          Fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in more than a decade.

          Oversaw establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, to create more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies.

          Obama EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history.

          Ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances.

          Obama EPA ruled that excess CO2 is a pollutant.

          Closed a deal with China to limit carbon emissions to slow down climate change.

          Blocked all oil and gas drilling in Bristol Bay, Alaska, one of the most pristine environments in North America

          Signed an Executive Order to improve environmental efforts in the Arctic region and to combat climate change by better coordinating the efforts of the 23 federal agencies operating in the area.

          Vetoed a bill to fast track construction of the parallel Keystone XL pipeline.

          Expanded clean water regulations to more stringently protect all of the nation’s waterways, even when states fail in their duty.

          Signed an Executive Order committing the federal government to lead the way in building a sustainable economy. It’s his fifth doing just that.

          Banned the use of antibiotics in food served in US Government-run cafeterias and ordered agencies to only use antibiotic-free meat.

          Developed new rules to address climate change and to create a significant boost to clean energy.

          Negotiated and signed a virtually Republican-Proof global agreement on climate change, with 190 countries signing on.

          Became one of 196 countries that signed onto a UN Framework on Climate Change.

          Ordered a moratorium on new coal leasing on federal land, and they will examine the whole leasing process.

          Signed a bill to better protect pipelines and to authorize greater oversight.

          Signed into law a measure directing the Department of Transportation to issue guidelines for minimum standards for underground storage of natural gas.

          Want to read more of PBO’s accomplishments?

          • Julian Cox

            Look I am not saying all things being equal it would have been better to run up $10 Trillion of Oil debt and not do anything positive in the side.

            What I am saying is that apathetically accepting that the only way to run the US economy is via Oil Debt and war will guarantee that we are fiddling while Rome burns and most likely guarantee war on a grand scale.

            Neither of which is simultaneously good for humans and the environment. One could argue that a giant cull of humanity is self-sacrificial environmentalism of a sort but if you’re voting for that you had better do so eyes open.

          • Bob_Wallace

            And Donald Trump would lead the world to peace.

            I’m having a little trouble keeping my lunch down….

          • Julian Cox

            Yes. I am very confident indeed that Donald Trump would lead the world to peace and absolutely confident that Hillary would (continue) leading the world to war.

            I don’t even need to guess about these things.

            If this is affecting your lunch it is because you have been lied to by professionals and somehow this revelation comes as a shock.

            Get outside the US media propaganda bubble and research it yourself – first hand. For example contrast what you think you know with what Putin has to say about it. Not saying you need to believe him instead, just notice that it does not fit together at all with the US media narrative. (Hint he’s ordered Russia on a war footing in case Hillary is elected).

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’re actually that naive?

  • Harry Johnson

    Why don’t progressives ever ask these fossil fools why do they want to poison our children? Adopt their tactics and turn it back on them. What they are fighting for is far more un-American unless being wealthy is what makes a person an American.

  • Ross

    Americans can at least be proud of the dignity with which their public servants handle these outrageous attacks from venal politicians.

    • Harry Johnson

      I think most Americans would rather see Democrats grow a pair…

      • Ross

        Americans could go halfway by overcoming the voting hurdles that the GOP puts up.

        • Bob_Wallace

          People like this guy usually come from districts where a lot of the people think as he does.

  • Steve

    Okay, I’m going to find who his campaign contributors are. I’ll be right back. I’m sure I won’t be surprised– guess… a utility, oil company or a coal company.

    • Steve

      I’m back:
      Top 5 Industries, 2015 – 2016, Campaign Cmte
      Industry Total Indivs PACs
      Oil & Gas $98,350 $10,350 $88,000
      Health Professionals $89,650 $11,150 $78,500
      Electric Utilities $86,750 $250 $86,500
      Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $54,908 $41,750 $13,158
      Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $47,850 $2,500 $45,350

      • Julian Cox

        Now do the same search on open secrets for Hilary Clinton and the DNC.

        (Sorry to rub this in – I am ardently pro environment sufficiently so to take a beating for telling inconvenient truths).

  • Positivity

    Nice article, Aisha.

  • Hans the Elder

    “un-American” is the new “entartet”. Both both mean: I do not have strong arguments against the subject so I will just make it sound evil.

  • Graniteman31

    Please refer to the “Solar Ready ” Final Report of May 2016, in which one of the participating Regional Planning Councils (RPC) was the “Ohio Kentucky Indiana” RPC with 45 participating jurisdictions with a population of 1.9 million. Their politicians seem to want to deny them.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    It’s a shame these clowns are not exposed.

    • Frank

      That turkey is from my state. Ugh.

      • Farmer_Dave

        Campaign for his opponent in the election.

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