Issue One: The House GOP and the EPA

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Toxic priorities

Your editorial "Coal Barons: GOP Lawmakers Try to Turn Back the Hands of Time" (Aug. 6) was spot-on.

The attempt by congressional Republicans, including Rep. Tim Murphy, to save the troubled coal industry by blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions is also a desperate attempt by the GOP to hang on to the votes of a remnant of the blue-collar working class, which has been devastated by the GOP's social and economic policies in so many ways.

If it were up to the Republicans, there would be no minimum wage, no Occupational Safety and Health Administration, no Mine Safety and Health Administration, no Medicare and, ultimately, no Social Security.

But now we are supposed to believe that their latest pandering to Big Fossil Fuel is all because of the sympathy they feel for workers in those industries who stand to lose their jobs as the world begins to move away from dirty coal to cleaner sources of energy.

If the Republicans really wanted to help workers in the obsolete coal industry, they would work to strengthen the social safety net by voting for family-sustaining unemployment benefits while refitting these folks, through job training, for a place in the new clean energy economy. Instead, they would subject the million-plus residents of southwestern Pennsylvania, as well as the inhabitants of the rest of our nation, to the toxic air pollution and climate change-caused catastrophes of "king" coal to "save" (so they say) a relative handful of jobs.

It is time that Rep. Murphy and his Republican cronies enlisted on the right side of history.

MICHAEL PASTORKOVICH
Oakland




Dishonest bill

Another dishonest and misleading title: the Energy Consumers Relief Act, which passed the House of Representatives with the support of local Reps. Tim Murphy and Keith Rothfus ("House Limits Obama on Environmental Regs," Aug. 2).

We "energy consumers" will enjoy a few pennies or dollars of "relief" on our electricity bills in exchange for cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, pulmonary disease, mercury-laden waters and fish, lowered IQs and early death.

No, thank you, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Rothfus, Consol, First Energy and your corporate family. The rest of us breathe air and need water.

MARY POLANSKY
Eighty Four




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