The environment was the winner of the Dirty Air Act vote, but not by much

by Mike Gaworecki

June 11, 2010

If we’ve learned anything from the BP Deepwater Disaster, it’s that we can’t afford not to transition to clean renewable energy and get off of dirty fossil fuels pronto.

The American public knows that: 71% of Americans now support regulating greenhouse gas emissions according to a new poll. And some 72% oppose new offshore drilling according to another. So the fact that the Senate defeated Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s pro-coal, pro-oil, anti-regulation, anti-envronment bill by such a narrow margin is a bit of a shock.

Let me just say straight out that it’s certainly good news that the Senate voted the right way. But it should have been a blowout, not 53 to 47. The Senate is, obviously, well behind the public in terms of being in touch with reality about America’s energy future.

With images like those in this video making headlines on a daily basis, it’s beyond me how 47 Senators could still vote on behalf of Big Oil to preserve the status quo:

You can read our full response to the vote on Senator Murkowski’s Dirty Air Act for more. And if you still think that oil spills are just somehow a regrettable side effect of what is otherwise a completely necessary reliance on oil as an energy source, you haven’t checked out our Energy [R]evolution report yet, which shows how we can leave fossil fuels behind while transitioning to a sustainable energy economy.

At the end of the day, of course, it’s not what’s on the scoreboard that matters but whether you have another loss or win in the standings. We chalked up another win for the environment yesterday, but you can bet the fossil fuel industry’s other champions are already lining up to finish the task of gutting the Clean Air Act on behalf of big polluters that Murkowski started.

The next attack against the Clean Air Act in the Senate will likely be launched by Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, a coal country Democrat who has the support of other Democratic Senators that actually voted against Murkowski’s Dirty Air Act. So stay tuned, given the deep pockets of our fossil fuels opponents and their allies in Congress, it’s going to take plenty of teamwork to chalk up the next victory for the environment.

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