That view contrasted sharply with the opinions of the four EPA administrators, who said the Obama administration had worked hard to make the proposal flexible and workable, using authority provided by Congress.
The former EPA administrators told lawmakers that global warming was similar to other serious environmental issues they confronted, such as industrial pollution, dangerous pesticides or water contamination. But tackling those issues enjoyed broad public support.
"Inherent in all of these problems was uncertain science and powerful economic interests resisting controls. The same is true of climate change," said Ruckelshaus, who also led the agency under Reagan. "In all of the cases cited, the solutions to the problems did not result in the predicted economic and social calamity."
The four EPA chiefs also said that they are not alone in the Republican party.
"There are Republicans that believe the climate is changing and humans have a role to play. They just need some political cover," said Whitman, in an interview before the hearing.
Reilly was even more direct.
"There is a lot happening on climate," he said, citing efforts by states and corporations to tackle the problem. "It's just not happening in Washington."
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