Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Newt Gingrich is in Iowa today, visiting the land where politicos go to sow the seeds of presidential ambitions. Speaking at the Renewable Fuels Summit, Gingrich moved from token GOP gripes about regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency to a full-on call for abolishing it entirely.
Via Politico, we learn that Gingrich's proposal is to replace it with the "Environmental Solutions Agency," which "would encourage innovation, incentivize success and emphasize sound science and new technology over bureaucracy, regulation, litigation and restrictions on American energy." The former Speaker of the House also noted that Obama should outline an "all of the above" energy plan in the State of the Union tonight to "truly demonstrate he is serious about governing from the center." In Republican-speak, "all of the above" leans heavily on more oil and gas drilling, which Gingrich has repeatedly touted via the "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" campaign promoted by his 527 group, American Solutions for Winning the Future.
Remember, this is the guy who two years ago was sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi talking about how we can all join forces to fight climate change. Bemoaning regulations on greenhouse gas emissions is now par for the course for Republicans with political ambitions. But Gingrich's call to abolish the EPA takes it to a new level. The EPA—created by a Republican president, lest we forget—is also responsible for things like, oh, keeping arsenic out of our drinking water, lead out of paints, and carcinogens out of our air.
This surely won't be the last attack on the EPA as Republican candidates start gearing up for 2012. I'm guessing, though, that most Americans actually like clean water and air, so this could be a bit of an overreach.