photo via EPA
The pundits are saying that the vote on Sen. Lisa Murkowski's amendment to upend the EPA's Endangerment Finding, which says the CO2 and other greenhouse gases are warming the planet, could be a harbinger of things to come on the Senate climate and energy bill. This is probably not the case, since the Murkowski language could never get through the House and the president wouldn't sign it. Nonetheless, EPA chief Lisa jackson posted a blog today on the Huffington Post warning against Murkowski's move.Jackson, whose agency has strengthened vehicle efficiency standards, cracked down on mountaintop removal, and taken the first steps to regulating coal plants, is framing Murkowski's attack as nothing short of an assault on a clean energy future.
Senator Murkowski's resolution would take away EPA's ability to protect the health and welfare of Americans from greenhouse gas pollution. The resolution would ignore and override scientific findings and allow big oil companies, big refineries and others to continue to pollute without any oversight or consequence. It would also gut EPA's authority in the clean cars program, a program that would help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and cut down on air pollution.
This resolution would take us back to the old energy policies by allowing the polluters to simply pay modest penalties to avoid full compliance with the standards. As a result, the resolution would increase our dependence on oil by 455 million barrels. That dependence rises to billions of barrels when you factor in the Murkowski resolution's effect on a follow-on program that expands fuel efficiency to heavy-duty vehicles and extends beyond the 2016 model year.
Undermining a program supported by our automakers and autoworkers, environmentalists and governors from across the country seems questionable at any time. But going back to a failed approach and deepening our oil addiction at the very moment a massive spill -- the largest environmental disaster in American history -- is devastating families and businesses and destroying precious wetlands runs contrary to our national interests. It abdicates the responsibility we have to move the country forward in a way that creates jobs, increases our security by breaking our dependence on foreign oil, and protects the air and water we rely on.
Essentially, the Murkowski amendment takes aim at the Clean Air Act. It would stop the EPA from regulating stationary sources of greenhouse gases and gut the EPA's ability to set emissions standards for vehicles. A deal was just brokered to increase vehicle efficiency, but this would negate that.
A vote on Murkowski's amendment is expected on Thursday. With 59 Democrats and and Republican Lindsay Graham, its fate looks sealed. Stay tuned to C-Span on Thursday to watch the drama unfold.