A climate change House of fools

A prominent Democrat vows to oppose any attempt to restrict greenhouse gas emissions, while declaring that biofuel critics are "in bed with big oil."

Published May 7, 2009 6:50PM (EDT)

Forget about Republican opposition to climate change legislation. It's the Democrats Obama has to worry about.

Listen to Collin Peterson, D-Minn., chair of the House Agriculture Committee, throwing a temper tantrum on Wednesday:

"I want this message sent back down the street. I will not support any climate change bill. I don't trust anybody anymore."

The problem? Wednesday's decision by the EPA to take into account land-use changes and related greenhouse gas emissions in evaluating the impact of biofuels on climate change.

The environmental sustainability of biofuels has come under sustained criticism from, well, lots of environmentalists, but for Peterson, the true agenda of the critics is much more nefarious.

"You're going to kill off the biofuels industry before it even gets started. You are in bed with the oil industry," Collin Peterson told officials from the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency at a hearing on ethanol's impact on land use and greenhouse gases.

Someone forgot to set his alarm clock to wake him up when the new administration took power. The notion that the current EPA, which recently declared that greenhouse gases are a pollutant covered under the terms of the Clean Air Act, is "in bed with the oil industry," is ludicrous.

But what's not ludicrous is the brick wall that meaningful climate change legislation is going to continue slamming into. I will not support any climate change bill. Doesn't sound like a man ready to compromise, does he?

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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