Dem compares climate deniers to tobacco execs

Dem compares climate deniers to tobacco execs
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Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) is comparing climate deniers to tobacco executives.

During a hearing Thursday to examine the Environmental Protection Agency’s new ozone standards, Johnson said the oil and gas industry is employing the same strategy as the tobacco industry to defeat regulation.

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"These kind of tactics have been used before,” said Johnson, the top Democrat on the House Science Committee. "Back in the 1960s, the tobacco industry devised a strategy to counter a growing body of scientific and medical evidence that tobacco products unquestionably caused harm.

"In any forum they could, tobacco industry scientists attempted to raise doubts about the science,” she continued. "Tobacco executives also raised concerns about the economic impact of proposed regulations on their industry and the economy at large.

"This strategy served the tobacco industry well, postponing effective action for years,” she continued. "But the American public paid the price in a lower quality of life, increased medical costs and lost earnings and shortened lives.

"This same strategy has been mimicked by the oil and gas industry in its attempt to question the scientific evidence pointing to the climate change,” Johnson concluded.

Republicans chastised Johnson for getting off topic.

“To remind folks, today’s hearing focuses on the EPA’s final rule announced earlier this month to lower the national air ambient standard for ozone,” said Rep. Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineIndia is making a play to become a major space power NASA plans to open the International Space Station for business NASA renames street in front of headquarters after 'Hidden Figures' MORE (R-Okla.). 

“Nothing in today’s hearing is regarding tobacco, necessarily, as far as I know,” he added.

Johnson went onto accuse Republicans of “exaggerating the costs” of the ozone standards. 

She pointed to EPA estimates showing that the $2.9 billion to $5.9 billion in benefits far outweigh the $1.4 billion in costs.

"When the environment is healthy, the economy is healthy, too,” Johnson added.