Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

‘Why Do You Hate Jobs?’ Stephen Colbert Grills the EPA

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Lisa Jackson
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It was a line of questioning straight out of the Barry Smitherman for Railroad Commission of Texas campaign last night on the faux news show ‘Colbert Report.’ Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was a guest on the show. And host Stephen Colbert brought the tough questions. Tough questions like “Why do we collectively have to worry about all of the environment? That sounds socialist.”

Photo courtesy of Barry Smitherman for Railroad Commission of Texas

A campaign ad from Railroad Commission Chair Barry Smitherman's Facebook page.

It would be funnier if the questions weren’t so familiar. Distrust and outright disdain is the status quo between much of the Texas oil and gas industry (and its state regulators) and the EPA. Smitherman, chair of the Railroad Commission, is running for re-election with campaign slogans like ‘Send the EPA Packing‘ and ‘Liberty First: Stand Against the EPA’s Growing Threat to Our Freedoms.’ For many on the right, despite the fact that EPA regulation has been virtually the same under Republican and Democratic administrations, the agency has become a convenient political punching bag, especially during an election year.

“The EPA’s been around 41 years,” Jackson noted to Colbert. “We were started by Richard Nixon.”

“That Pinko,” Colbert interjected.

“I get most of my information about the EPA from FOX News,” Colbert said for laughs. “So my question to you, madam, is why do you hate jobs? Do you actually get paid on commission for every American job you destroy with your regulations?”

“We’re not killing jobs,” Jackson replied. “We’re protecting the air and the water.”

“Wait a second,” Colbert retorted, “Have you heard of tornadoes, hurricanes and droughts? I think that the air and water is attacking us.”

You can watch the video in full above.


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