The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorializes:
There was a time when Republicans and Democrats both knew that improving the nation’s environment was actually a key to creating the jobs and cities of the future.
Here’s a portion of a speech given by a Republican president decades ago that we simply can’t imagine hearing today:
“How did this come about? It came about by the president proposing. It came about by a bipartisan effort represented by the senators and congressmen, who are here today. … And I thank the Congress, and the country owes a debt to the Congress in its closing days, for acting in this particular field.”
Those were the words of President Richard Nixon on the last day of 1970, as he signed the Clean Air Act and created the Environmental Protection Agency that many members of his party more than four decades later now want to get rid of.
That agency, the enforcement mechanism that Mr. Nixon in his remarks that day called key to the success of the Clean Air Act, recently released a rule that has been contemplated since Congress amended the act in 1990. It seeks to regulate the emission of carbon for new coal-fired power plants.
Those rules make it unlikely that any new coal plants will be built in coming years…
There was a time in U.S. history, not long ago, but longer than the recent 15-year slowdown in warming trends, when Republicans and Democrats could respond to such challenges together. When they could realize, as President Nixon said on that important day in 1970, “that all of us, Democrats, Republicans, the House, the Senate, the executive branch, that all of us can look back upon this year as that time when we began to make a movement toward a goal that we all want.”