Congress: Key votes expected on proposals that would limit EPA’s ability to clean up carbon dioxide pollution
By Environment Illinois
CHICAGO—Members of Congress were to vote today (Wednesday, April 6) on proposals that would severely threaten Illinoisans’ health by blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to clean up dangerous carbon dioxide pollution.
Environment Illinois Field Organizer Miranda Carter issued the following statement in anticipation of the votes:
“Polluters and their allies in Congress are launching an all-out attack on Illinois’ public health and our environment today, and we need Senator (Mark) Kirk, Representative (Dan) Lipinski, Representative (Robert) Dold, and the rest of the Illinois delegation to stand up for Illinoisans by voting against this attack. We are thankful we can count on Senator (Dick) Durbin, representatives (Mike) Quigley, (Bobby) Rush, (Jan) Schakowsky, (Luis) Gutierrez, (Jesse) Jackson Jr., and (Danny) Davis, true public health and environmental champions, to stand up for Illinois by voting against these attacks. Global warming poses serious threats to Illinois’ health, our economy and our future, but these polluters’ proposals would weaken the Clean Air Act’s ability to protect us from the very pollution that is fueling the problem.”
Despite the Clean Air Act’s 40-year track record of cost-effectively cutting dangerous pollution, and the many serious health and environmental threats posed by global warming, several proposals are expected to be voted on today in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would block or weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to clean up dangerous carbon dioxide pollution (the main pollutant fueling global warming). Many national public health groups—including the American Lung Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Thoracic Society, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America—have sent letters to Congress, urging members of Congress to reject all of these proposals.
In the Senate, four proposals—dubbed The Filthy Four—are expected to be offered as amendments to an unrelated small business bill (S. 493) today:
· U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is offering an amendment mirroring U.S. Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-Okla.) bill (S. 482) to block the EPA from cleaning up dangerous carbon dioxide pollution, overturn scientific findings regarding the threats posed by global warming, and block EPA and the states from cutting carbon dioxide pollution and saving oil through clean car standards.
· U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are offering an amendment that would block the implementation of standards to cut carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources for at least two years, while exempting the agricultural sector from any limits on carbon dioxide pollution.
· U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is offering an amendment that would block the EPA’s ability to set standards—or even do research and gather stakeholder input to develop standards—to cut carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources for at least two years.
· U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is offering an amendment that would block the clean-up of global warming pollution from biomass facilities and also would permanently exempt even the very largest sources of global warming pollution from having to clean up their global warming pollution unless the source is also a very large source of other pollutants.
In the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton’s (D-Mich.) bill, H.R. 910, dubbed the “Dirty Air Act,” is expected to receive a vote on the House floor.
· Rep. Upton’s Dirty Air Act mirrors Sen. McConnell’s amendment described above, and would do at least three dangerous things:
1. Block EPA from cutting carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources. Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution in the United States.
2. Overturn EPA’s “endangerment finding” regarding global warming pollution—the determination by EPA scientists that global warming pollution poses threats to public health and welfare—essentially saying that Congress knows climate science better than the climate scientists themselves.
3. Block EPA—and states—from issuing new standards for cleaner vehicles after 2017, and open up the 2012-2016 federal clean car standards to serious legal challenges. These standards are regarded as one of the easiest ways to cut our reliance on oil and save consumers money at the gas pump.
Environment Illinois is a state-based, citizen-funded environmental organization working for clean air, clean water, and open space.
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