The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

On Heels of Heat Wave, House To Vote on Amendments That Could Worsen Global Warming

Riders to Appropriations Bill Would Prevent EPA From Setting Limits on Climate Change Emissions


The U.S. House of Representatives may vote as early as today on the 2012 appropriations bill for the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies that contains a number of amendments that would threaten public health and the environment.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), among the most egregious amendments, or riders, are ones that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from setting first ever limits on global warming emissions from power plants and oil refineries and undermine new administration fuel efficiency standards for vehicles manufactured between 2017 and 2025.

"These riders are political ideology masquerading as a debate over a spending bill and could do lasting harm," said Lexi Shultz, the legislative director of UCS's Climate and Energy Program. "They are an assault on common sense efforts to protect public health and save consumers money at the pump."

The vote comes just days after a severe heat wave that set record temperatures in many U.S. cities. Climate scientists project that, unless the emissions that cause global warming are significantly reduced, the temperatures that millions of Americans experienced during the last week will become the norm. Heat waves will get hotter, last longer, and become more frequent because of a build-up of carbon in the atmosphere.

"Washington, D.C. already is experiencing months of high temperatures that climate scientists projected would not occur until the end of the century. Yet members of Congress are trying to block any federal action or even research on climate change," said Liz Perera, UCS health expert and co-author of a recent UCS report ("Climate Change and Your Health: Rising Temperatures, Worsening Ozone Pollution") that found increasing temperatures could worsen air quality. "Climate scientists projected the D.C. region would experience 70 days above 90 degrees by the end of the century. According to the Capital Weather Gang, D.C. had 67 days over 90 degrees last summer and is on track to beat that this year."

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.