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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

September 18, 2009

Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102

New Attempts by Big Polluters to Block Progress

In expectation of attempts by several Senators to use the Interior and environment appropriations bill to obstruct the government’s ability to reduce pollution, the Sierra Club issued the following statement. 

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director


Polluters like Big Coal and Big Oil are telling are their friends in the Senate to use every trick in the book to hold back progress on more jobs, less pollution and greater security.

Now they want to deregulate pollution from power plants by taking away funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fight global warming,

Senator Murkowski’s amendment is a bailout for the country’s largest polluters, including coal plants--unfairly exempting them from pollution rules that apply to other global warming sources like cars.  

This effort would prevent EPA from following through on a mandate from the Supreme Court: to act if it determines that carbon dioxide is a threat to public health and if so, to take protective action by limiting global warming pollution.

But that’s not all. Obstructionists are playing political games-- trying to gag the President’s well-respected climate change advisor Carol Browner with an amendment from Senator Vitter.  This would tie the Administration’s hands on one of the most important issues facing our country.

There is also a possible amendment that could obstruct EPA's ability to complete the Renewable Fuel Standards rule in accordance with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act-- this includes consideration of indirect land use change.  Further, the Senate should oppose efforts to mandate changes in the nation's fuel mix. EPA must ensure that higher ethanol blends will not compromise emissions control equipment or engines, endangering air quality and public health.

These amendments together would send a signal to the rest of the world that, three months before international meetings in Copenhagen, the U.S. is still not serious about curbing its global warming pollution, and it would provide China and India with an excuse to avoid cleaning up their pollution.

The Senate must oppose these cynical ploys to bail out polluters and restrict the President's ability to create more jobs, less pollution and greater security for all Americans.

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