Colorado conservation groups will rally on the sidewalk in front of U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner’s office in Fort Collins on Friday to protest the Republican congressman’s ongoing legislative campaign to rein in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and keep the federal agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.“Rep. Gardner’s extremist attacks against the EPA and against science are bad for the economy, bad for jobs, and don’t represent the mainstream values of his constituents,” said Gary Wockner of Clean Water Action, one of the groups that will present a constituent sign-on letter expressing their concerns to Gardner’s office.
Gardner has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at limiting the authority of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled such regulations are within the EPA’s jurisdiction. The federal agency is engaged in a rulemaking that will set limits on carbon emissions by power plants and oil refineries. Gardner has been blasted for being “out of touch” with his Colorado constituency in the 4th Congressional District, where polls have found residents want more environmental regulation by the EPA, not less.
However, on Wednesday, Gardner went after the EPA again, charging the agency is improperly moving ahead with its regulatory framework without considering the impact to jobs in Colorado and around the nation. He maintains attempts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions will cost jobs in traditional fossil fuel industries such as coal and oil and gas extraction.
“To me, not taking into account the impact on jobs would render an economic analysis completely useless,” Gardner said in a release on Wednesday. “It’s frightening that an agency with as much regulatory authority as the EPA doesn’t appear to care about jobs.”
However, some studies (pdf) show the pending EPA regulations will actually result in more jobs. “New Jobs-Cleaner Air: Employment Effects under Planned Changes to EPA’s Air Pollution Rules (pdf),” conducted by Dr. James Heintz of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, found that EPA regulation of greenhouse gases will create 1.4 million jobs associated with installing pollution controls and building new power plants.
“Rep. Gardner is voting to undermine the public’s health in order to benefit the big polluters who donated to his campaign,” said Micah Parkin of 350.org, another one of the groups rallying at Gardner’s office at noon on Friday. The other groups include the Sierra Club — Poudre Canyon Group, Fort Collins Sustainability Group and the Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society.