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We Must Put Out Newt Gingrich's Wildfire Before It Starts

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Newt Gingrich is at it again. In an attempt to "one up" his fellow Tea-Party political climbers, "Contract on America" (COA) Newt has declared that Congress should abolish the EPA. Actually, maybe I am not being fair. He wants to disband the agency, ripping out the "protection" part of the EPA's mission, and replace it with a shiny new teeny-tiny organization that is going to work closely with corporate polluters. COA Newt wants the new entity to focus on science (that he doesn't seem to believe in) and technology (that he wants to cut spending for). What hypocrisy! He goes on to point out his belief that "the EPA is basically opposing things." You mean, things like dirty air, COA Newt? I am pretty happy that their goal is still protection. I just wish we had an agency that could protect us from these kinds of ridiculous ideas.

The Environmental PROTECTION Agency PROTECTS my family. The fundamental laws it enforces keep our water drinkable, swimmable, and fishable. EPA has reduced the number of asthma visits to emergency rooms by our kids (and still has a ways to go). EPA provides small communities low-interest loans to update their sewers and water infrastructure. EPA cleans up toxic waste dumps when the corporate polluters (you know, the ones COA New wants to partner with) abandon them -- leaving communities -- often the poorest -- in crisis. COA Newt might want to paint EPA scientists as a bunch of bureaucratic tree huggers but make no mistake -- this agency is all about the health of your family.

In the past, I would have just ignored this blather as another wild idea from New, like when he proposed essentially eliminating the State Department. But, the truth is we can't ignore this because these ridiculous ideas have been treated seriously lately as they are repeated to the Tea-Party radio listeners and echoed on Fox Network as somehow valid.

We need to talk about how radical, dangerous and out-of-the-mainstream this idea is at every opportunity. We must tell the other parents at daycare pickup. We must mock this idea on Facebook, Twitter, under our email signatures. You get the idea. One can no longer assume that outlandish suggestions by disgraced politicians will just die of their own weight. We need to explain why they're counter to the public interest -- to your families. Making our case is easy to do, but we have to do it.

We need to put out this wildfire before it starts.

The blog was first posted in NRDC's Action Fund blog, The Mark Up.

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