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The Defeat of Senator Murkowski's Dirty Air Act represents a big win for safeguarding public health

June 11, 2010

Washington, D.C.  -  The U.S. Senate defeated, 47 – 53, the Murkowski Dirty Air Act resolution, which would have tied the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) hands to control carbon pollution.  By rejecting this resolution, the majority of the Senate voted to base U.S. climate policy on the burgeoning scientific evidence that climate change is underway, that human activity is a major driver of carbon pollution, and that urgent action is needed to protect human health and the environment.

The vote upheld the legitimacy of the EPA’s endangerment finding last December, which established the legal basis for establishing rules to limit carbon pollution from large emitters of CO2, including coal-fired power plants, heavy industry and motor vehicles.

Physicians for Social Responsibility Executive Director Dr. Peter Wilk had the following response:

"The Clean Air Act is our most successful environmental law on record and it has effectively controlled many dangerous air pollutants for the past forty years.  We must use every tool available, including EPA authority under the Clean Air Act, to limit greenhouse gas emission from large sources immediately.  The vote today echoes the call heard across the country for action to limit carbon pollution.   In an ongoing effort to delay capping these dangerous pollutants, Senator Murkowski attempted to obfuscate her protection of Big Oil and Dirty Coal, claiming that EPA regulators should not be setting climate policy.  This vote against her resolution demonstrates a resounding rejection of her intent to place corporate and private interest politics before the health of our nation.  PSR is grateful to all the Senators that voted to protect current and future generations.  And we thank all our PSR members whose calls to the Senate helped make this happen."

Contact:
Kristen Welker-Hood, kwelker-hood@psr.org, 202-587-5244

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Resources

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    PSR's report, Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why Health Professionals Reject Methane, based on summaries of recent medical and scientific studies, clearly conveys the health threats that accompany use of methane as a fuel. Read more »

  • Climate Change and Famine

    Climate change is already threatening the Earth’s ability to produce food. These effects are expected to worsen as climate change worsens. Read more »

  • Congressional Review Act Handout

    Congress is poised to use the CRA to dismantle Clean Air and Clean Water protections. CRA allows Congress by majority vote in both chambers (with limited debate and no opportunity for a filibuster) to void recently issued rules-resulting in communities losing dozens of health, safety and environmental protections. Read more »

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