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March 19, 2010
11:31 AM

CONTACT: Center for Biological Diversity

Bill Snape,, (202) 536-9351
Kieran Suckling,, (520) 275-5960

Gutting the Clean Air Act is a Senate Deal Killer

Center for Biological Statement on Climate Legislation and the Clean Air Act

WASHINGTON - March 19 - In the past two days, the media have reported that Senators Kerry, Lieberman and Graham have agreed to craft a climate change bill which will ban the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases, increase oil and gas drilling (including off-shore drilling), subsidize nuclear energy, and allow atmospheric carbon dioxide to grow to catastrophic levels by not requiring economy-wide greenhouse gas emission cuts sufficient to reduce CO2 levels to 350 parts per million or less.

In response, Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kieran Suckling issued the following statement:

"If correctly reported, the Kerry, Lieberman, Graham approach is unacceptable. It won't stop global warming, and by attacking the Clean Air Act, it will remove the only tool we currently have that can do so.

"Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham appear to be taking Congress to a new low it its long-term failure to rise to the challenge of stopping global warming. Beginning with the inadequate Safe Climate Act of 2008, each successive bill in the House and Senate has weakened emission targets and increased fossil fuel subsidies.

"Enough is enough. Global warming legislation must do more than have the word ‘climate' in it. If the soon to be released bill mirrors its description to date, the Center will call on Senators who care about preserving a healthy human and natural environment to vote against it.

"The Clean Air Act has protected the air we breathe for 40 years, reaping economic benefits 42 times its cost. We should implement it fully today and craft climate legislation that complements, not weakens it.

"Scientists have determined that reducing carbon pollution to 350 parts per million is necessary to preserve life as we know it.  350 part per million must be the bottom line for all climate and energy policies. House and Senate members should reject all legislation that does not require greenhouse gas reductions sufficient to reduce the current atmospheric level of carbon dioxide from 387 parts per million to 350."

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.


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