Senate Defeats "Dirty Air Act"

Authors: Megan Emiko Scott

Today, the Senate defeated a shameful attack on the Clean Air Act, 47 to 53. 

S.J. Res. 26, introduced by Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, would have vetoed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientific finding that global warming pollution endangers public health and the environment. The resolution would have blocked EPA efforts to enforce the Clean Air Act, thereby delaying a federal response to climate change.

Green For All joined with partner organizations from the Climate Equity Alliance to oppose this Senate resolution. Senate letter:

Unfortunately, this issue is not going away anytime soon. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a bill that would stop EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary industrial sources like power plants and factories for two years. At least seven similar proposals have been introduced in the House of Representatives, many with Democratic co-sponsors. As the debate moves forward on climate and energy, we must continue to fight to keep the Clean Air Act strong.

Last month, the Obama administration announced plans to use the Clean Air Act to crack down on the oldest, dirtiest coal plants. This proposal will ensure that the big polluters with the greatest carbon emissions will have to clean up their act, while ensuring that small businesses will not have to suddenly worry about a changed regulatory climate. Now that we know we have an administration that is willing to use the Clean Air Act in the way the Supreme Court said it must be used in the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA, we must continue to work hard to ensure this tool is not suddenly taken away.

The Senate should stop blocking efforts to reduce global warming pollution and turn its attention to passing strong, comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year.

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