Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who Needs Expertise When You're A Ranking Member?

As the ranking member on the committee that has primary jurisdiction on the upcoming clean energy bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, it may be cause for alarm that Rep. Joe Barton (TX) seems to exhibit little to no understanding of neither the effects of global warming or the steps that are being taken to curb those effects.

It's also comical, in a very dark way.

Mr. Barton seems to think that given the Environmental Protection Agency's recent finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health, that marathon runners will now be regulated by the federal government (via Grist):
Barton says the average healthy adult exhales between four-tenths of a ton and seven-tenths of a ton of CO2 a year.

“So if you put 20,000 marathoners into a confined area, you could consider that a single source of pollution, and you could regulate it,” Barton says. “The key would be whether the EPA said that 20,000 people running the same route was one source or not.”

One indication that the EPA likely would consider 20,000 runners a single source of pollution is that the agency is trying to regulate waste-water runoff and emissions of drilling rigs in oil fields by attempting to define entire areas as a single source of pollution, Barton says.
The intrepid Kate Sheppard has a pretty easy go of poking a hole in his theory:
Never mind that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has indicated she has no interest in regulating small sources—the agency’s regulations would target major industrial sources emitting at least 25,000 metric tons of carbon per year, as well as the transportation sector. And no, the “transportation sector” doesn’t include runners.