NRCM News Release
Today, by a vote of 47-53, the U.S. Senate rejected a Resolution sponsored by Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would have stripped the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its ability to regulate climate pollution under the Clean Air Act. Maine Senators Snowe and Collins both voted with the minority, in support of the Murkowski Resolution.
“This was the wrong vote for Maine and the wrong vote for clean energy and reducing our dependence on oil,” said Brownie Carson, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Although this destructive Resolution did not pass, it sends the wrong signal at the wrong time, as this country seeks to increase energy security, reduce dependence on oil, and reduce the threat of climate change to our health and wellbeing.”
“The EPA’s clean car regulations—which Maine fought hard to achieve and which would have been tossed out by this Resolution—will save Maine consumers $2 million per year on gasoline. They make measurable progress in reducing our dependence on oil and switching us over to more efficient cars. This Resolution was a bailout for Big Oil and an attack on the Clean Air Act. Its broad, sweeping impact would have been to undermine the basic scientific foundation of the EPA’s efforts on climate change.
“Many Senators who spoke today in support of the Murkowski Resolution claimed that they simply prefer Congress to decide how to reduce climate pollution. But make no mistake—most of those Senators will do everything they can to block Congress from passing comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation, too.
“Senators Snowe and Collins say they want Congress to act on climate legislation. Senator Collins has even co-sponsored climate legislation that puts a price on carbon. With this vote behind us, now is the time for our Senators to step forward and publically commit to playing an active role in shaping and passing a comprehensive climate bill this session.
“Both our Senators have been leaders on climate and clean energy in the past. They both understand the very real importance of enacting comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year. Now is the time for them to step forward and take a strong leadership role. I believe the active engagement of Senators Snowe and Collins can make is critical to making this happen.
“The EPA has released preliminary rules for addressing climate pollution from major polluters.
“The EPA rules are good preliminary rules,” said Carson. “More work needs to be done to finalize them before they will be applied, but they are based on sound science. The issue of climate change pollution from biomass plants, raised by Maine Senators, can be misleading. Biomass needs to be regulated with care, just like any other emissions. These rules don’t require any Maine factories, including biomass or pulp and paper plants, to do anything differently. But if a new factory is built, or if there are significant renovations to an existing one, then modern, energy efficient equipment would be required. This is an essential step to reducing pollutants that contribute to climate change.”