The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Aaron Huertas, 202-331-5458

Murkowski, Harkin Amendments Should Be Defeated


Two separate amendments to the Department of Interior funding bill
would undermine the federal government's ability to address climate
change and should be defeated, according to the Union of Concerned
Scientists (UCS).

The first amendment, offered by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska),
would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from
addressing heat-trapping emissions from stationary sources, such as
coal-fired power plants, for a year. Liz Perera, a federal policy
analyst with UCS's Climate Program, said the amendment would slow down
the necessary transition to a clean energy economy.

"Senator Murkowski's amendment would hinder EPA's ability to comply
with the Supreme Court ruling that heat-trapping emissions are
pollutants under the Clean Air Act," said Perera. "Other countries are
watching what Congress is doing. Passing this amendment would send them
the wrong message just when we want them to work with us on a new
climate treaty."

The second amendment, offered by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chuck
Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) would prohibit the EPA from
including global warming emissions from land use change under a
Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Since EPA is required to consider these
emissions under current law, this amendment would jeopardize
implementation of the entire renewable fuels standard program, creating
substantial uncertainty for the biofuels industry.

"The EPA should be allowed to move forward using the best available
science without interference from Congress," said Brendan Bell, a
federal policy analyst with UCS's Clean Vehicles program. "This is a
classic case of special interests trying to sneak in policy changes on
an appropriations bill."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.