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Republicans in Congress have moved one step closer to taking away the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate the greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change. This afternoon, by a vote of 34-19, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the so-called Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 that would amend the Clear Air to state that seven specific greenhouse gases, plus "any other substance subject to, or proposed to be subject to, regulation, action, or consideration under [the Clean Air Act] to address climate change," are not "air pollutants," and, therefore, can not be regulated by the EPA. The bill now goes to the full House for a vote on passage.

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The Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency power to regulate air pollutants that are hazardous to public health. In 2009, after conducing a scientific, peer-reviewed study as ordered by the Supreme Court, the EPA determined that six greenhouse gases "threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations" and they have begun drawing up regulations. But a group of lawmakers is trying to defeat the science with legislation, and they're gaining influential allies on both sides of the aisle.

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The Federal Communications Commission doesn't have a great record when it comes to protecting net neutrality, but they're still our best line of defense against a telecom industry that's hell-bent on creating a tiered internet that restricts how people who can't afford premium access can use the web. Republicans in the House, however, are looking to take the FCC off the beat entirely and leave all decisions concerning fairness and access on the internet up to the telecoms and Congress.

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