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Base decisions on facts, science

Retired Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) served the nation for 24 years.
In the House of Representatives, he was among principal sponsors and defenders of the clean-water, clean-air and other, seminal federal laws passed in the 1970s and since, to protect public and environmental health and the public lands.
In the Washington Post in November, he published a plea to “my fellow Republicans to open [your] minds to rethinking what has largely become our party’s line: denying that climate change and global warming are occurring and are largely due to human activities.”
During 2009-2010, the Administration pursued a market-friendly climate bill to reduce earth-warming pollution and spur efficiency and renewable power.
Passed in the House, GOP members voted against the bill in unison, including our First District Representative.
Republican opposition then stalled and defeated the bill in the U.S. Senate.
“When I was chairman of the House Committee on Science,” Boehlert states, “Republicans and Democrats alike looked to scientists for insight and understanding on a host of issues.”
Today, we know the reality and consequences of climate change, his op-ed continues, from the findings of our National Academy of Sciences, national scientific academies from around the world and 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists.
Why, then, it asks, do so many Republican lawmakers “think they are right and the world’s top scientists are wrong?”
The Administration took some regulatory first steps to check U.S. greenhouse gas pollution.
In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency established a reporting program under which various industries, if emissions exceed certain threshold levels, are to monitor and report these.
In 2010, it ruled that the very highest-emitting industrial sources must reduce greenhouse gases through technology improvements, over five years.
With the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, it plans to develop standards to lower this pollution in commercial trucking and improve fuel performance in later-model passenger vehicles.
They are much-needed measures to protect the public today, and the next generations, from increased respiratory, infectious and other health risks under global warming, and from the extraordinary economic costs which unmitigated climate destabilization exact through weather-related disasters.
In January, a number of bills were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of them sponsored and co-sponsored by Republican members from Tennessee, to ban greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act, in contradiction to the Supreme Court’s ruling that it be done.
Numerous provisions in the February passed budget resolution, furthermore, would prohibit the EPA from implementing the measures now in effect, bar any funding for them, and block development of clean energy power.
It would even ban the continuation of highly successful, voluntary programs such as EnergyStar appliances, which save consumers billions while reducing pollution and our foreign-oil dependency.
These recent House actions, all, were co-sponsored outright or vote-supported by Congressman Phil Roe.
The plea by former Republican colleague, for non-partisanship and policy decisions based on facts and science, to address urgent national problems, goes to him, too.