There are many ways to test whether your Senator has become a mindless pod person, but one of the surest litmus tests is whether he/she supports restricting the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and trying to limit global greenhouse gases. I regret to inform the people of Michigan that Debbie Stabenow and several of her “Democrat” colleagues, are now climate denying pod persons.

As Think Progress and various environmental organizations are reporting, the EPA’s power to enforce the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other enviornmental laws, particularly regulations of climate change gases, has become one of the Tea-GOP’s favorite targets. And for faux Democrats like Senator Manchin, who campaigned by firing a bullet through a non-existent CO2 cap ‘n trade bill, it’s a literal target. World’s greatest deliberative body?

So the environmental community, which should include all sentient human beings plus polar bears and other critters, is now alarmed by an AP report suggesting the White House may be willing to accept anti-EPA “riders” to the budget bill. That’s the bill the leaderless Democrats and unprincipled White House are negotiating with only slightly less crazy than Tea-GOP Leader Boehner on how much to undermine the US economy and harm poor people, kids, women, science, education, emergency preparedness and the overall public welfare.

To understand this, think of this process as the US equivalent to the devastating Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe, in which a nation is having to choose between really bad options and godawful ones. Except in the US, the dilemma is self inflicted by stupidity and corrupt corporate capture, and all the decent options have been foolishly or maliciously taken off the table.

In this insane process, every faux Democrat is rushing to demonstrate that they too don’t believe it’s important to protect clean air and clean water or confront global climate change, and so stripping away EPA powers is an easy way to show that, by golly, you’re an unthinking, careless pod person too.

From Think Progress, here’s what Debbie Stabenow and fellow pod people would do:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced amendment 215, the EPA Stationary Source Regulations Suspension Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND). The amendment calls for:

– A two-year suspension of stationary source regulations of carbon dioxide and methane.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has introduced amendment 236, which has three elements:

– Forbidding regulation of greenhouse gases from a emitter that doesn’t also produce other regulated air pollution

– Codification of the EPA tailoring rule that establishes a 75,000 ton CO2e/year threshold for regulation

– Excluding regulation of biofuel greenhouse emissions related to land-use changes, or of any greenhouse emissions from other agricultural activities

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has introduced amendment 265, which has four elements:

– A two-year suspension of stationary source greenhouse gas regulations

– Preventing any future California waiver for tailpipe greenhouse emissions

– Excluding regulation of biofuel greenhouse emissions related to land-use changes, or of any greenhouse emissions from other agricultural activities

– Allocating $5 billion to the Advanced Energy Project tax credit

Folks, these are pod people, every one of them. Do you know whether your Senator has fallen asleep? Better check. Initial votes may occur today.

Other reactions:

The White House put out a disclaimer to Politico which reads like “we really like the public option.”

“As the administration has made clear, the funding bill should not be used to further unrelated policy agendas, and we remain opposed to riders that do that, including as it relates to the environment,” a White House spokesman told POLITICO in an email.

NRDC “NRDC urges the president to make clear, unequivocally, that he would not accept any riders. Period. That means no amendments designed to hamper the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue updates that protect and safeguard our health while fighting pollution. . . .”

National Wildlife Federation:

“Our nation’s bedrock environmental laws are under attack by oil companies. People from across America are speaking out against the polluter attacks on the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, but where is President Obama?

President Obama needs to stand with the American people against big polluters who put toxins in the air we breathe and the water we drink. We won’t have a clean energy future if he bows to polluters’ dirty air agenda.

Mr. President, for the sake of our children, don’t let Big Oil hijack the budget debate, and don’t rollback the Clean Air Act to put a Band-Aid on a broken budget process.

League of Conservation Voters:

. . . But corporate polluters and their congressional allies are demanding that the spending bill also include provisions that strip the EPA of its authority to limit carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.

President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid need to know that we absolutely will oppose any spending bill that includes a backdoor attempt to block, weaken or delay the EPA’s ability to protect public health under the Clean Air Act.

Fred Krupp, EDF: “At EDF, our position is that children’s health should not be a bargaining chip.”

Classic: Former EPA Director, William Ruckleshaus replies to a Wall Street Journal editorial implying he’s dead, noting the announcement is premature:

The continuation of my breathing at this late date may be due to the protections afforded by the 1970 Clean Air Act and the EPA’s diligence in enforcing the act’s mandates.

William D. Ruckelshaus