The Senate must defeat yet another Dirty Air Act

by Mike Gaworecki

September 13, 2010

Greenpeace: Stop the Dirty Air Act!Update: Our efforts paid off, and the Appropriations Committee will no longer be considering amendments to the EPA budget this week. Stay tuned, though. Sen. Rockefeller could introduce his Dirty Air Act proposal as early as next week, so it’s still incredibly important that you contact your Senators and tell them to stop any and every Dirty Air Act proposal that rears its ugly head.

Are we starting to sound like a broken record? Well, when it comes to protecting their profits, even at the expense of the planet, corporate polluters are just that persistent. So we’ll have to keep calling out the Dirty Air Act every time it rears its ugly head. And as the Senate is back in session this week, its ugly head is inevitably rearing.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will be considering the EPA’s budget as one of its first orders of business this week, which gives big polluters, their lobbyists, and their allies in Congress the opportunity to add amendments to the EPA budget that would limit or roll back the agency’s authority to regulate climate pollution under the Clean Air Act.

It’s not clear yet what form the Dirty Air Act will take this time around. Last session, the Senate only narrowly defeated the Dirty Air Act, aka Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski’s attempts to weaken the EPA’s authority and allow more self-regulation of the oil and coal industries. Yes, incredible as it may seem, Murkowski was suggesting more self-regulation of the industry that gave us the Deepwater Disaster in the Gulf and the Upper Big Branch tragedy in West Virginia.

Also last session, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia had put out a proposal that would suspend the EPA’s regulatory authority for two years — which may seem like a kindler, gentler version of the Dirty Air Act, some sort of Dirty Air Act lite, on the face of it. But when you consider that we need our emissions to peak by 2015, as the IPCC says they must to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, you realize that we simply don’t have two years to wait for serious action to stop climate pollution.

Now is certainly not the time to be moving backwards on regulating greenhouse gas emissions and implementing policies to kickstart the clean energy revolution. Write to the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and tell them to defeat yet another Dirty Air Act.

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