For Immediate Release
After Closed-Door Meeting With Major Polluters, Upton Moves to Repeal Clean Air Act Protections
Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has unveiled draft legislation to repeal Clean
Air Act protections aimed at slowing the buildup of dangerous carbon dioxide
pollution, a major contributor to global warming. The bill is yet another attack
on the Clean Air Act, which for decades has dramatically reduced dangerous
pollutants like mercury and lead, prevented millions of illnesses such as asthma
and cancer, and saved tens of thousands of lives.
"Representative Upton is joining Senators Barrasso
and Rockefeller in promoting polluters' profits over public health. Rather than
do what's right for people and the environment, they want to repeal Clean Air
Act protections and give big polluters a free pass to dump unlimited amounts of
CO2 into our air," said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for
Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute.
Rep. Upton's legislation would prohibit the
Environmental Protection Agency from following through on an order of the U.S.
Supreme Court to reduce greenhouse pollutants such as CO2, methane
and nitrous oxide under the Clean Air Act. The legislation would repeal steps
the agency has already taken to reduce carbon pollution from our nation's
biggest polluters such as refineries and power plants.
"For four decades, the Clean Air Act has held
polluters accountable, saved $100 billion in health costs, prevented
illnesses and most
importantly saved tens of thousands of lives," said Siegel. "The technology
exists to reduce carbon pollution now. New and updated Clean Air Act standards
will save lives, save imperiled species, spur technological innovation and
create jobs. And yet, some in Congress want to ignore that progress and move us
Upton's bill and others aimed at delaying action on
climate change directly contradict leading scientists' recommendations on
dealing with this global crisis. Last week, 18 of the nation's leading climate
researchers wrote to Congress highlighting
the urgency of the risks and consequences of delaying action on global warming.
They said: "We want to assure you that the science is strong and that there is
nothing abstract about the risks facing our nation. Our coastal areas are now
facing increasing dangers from rising sea levels and storm surges; the southwest
and southeast are increasingly vulnerable to drought; other regions will need to
prepare for massive flooding from the extreme storms of the sort being
experienced with increasing frequency....
Climate change is underway and the severity of the risks we face is
compounded by delay."
Upton's discussion draft legislation follows legislation introduced earlier in
the week by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to exempt greenhouse gas pollution from
regulation under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental
Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and other bedrock environmental laws, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-W.Va.)
bill to delay EPA's implementation of Clean Air Act protections to
reduce carbon emissions.
To learn more, read the Center's new "Myths and Realities About the Clean Air
Act" along with a fact sheet on the Act and frequently asked questions about
how the national pollution cap provision of the Act can be used to reduce
greenhouse gas pollution.
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.