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The Carletonian

Senators Klobuchar and Franken Need to Oppose Rockefeller’s Bill

<nother example of how great a stranglehold corporate polluters have on Washington, the Senate is currently considering a bill, S. 3702, sponsored by West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller that once again offers a handout to Big Oil and other polluters by undermining the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The Senate must not pass this bill if we care anything for the environment, the economy and the health and safety of our families and children.

I urge Minnesota Senators Klobuchar and Franken to do the right thing and stand with health experts, faith leaders, scientists and clean air advocates to ensure this legislation doesn’t become law.

The Clean Air Act has for 40 years effectively cut dirty pollution to protect our environment and the health of our families. But now Congress wants to undermine this extremely successful bill by preventing enforcement of the Clean Air Act. If passed, this bill, known as the “Stationary Source Regulations Delay Act”, would take away the EPA’s authority to regulate CO2 and methane emissions, except from new vehicles, for the next two years by prohibiting them from classifying these dangerous greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The only people whom this bill would benefit would be Big Oil and other corporate polluters, as they would have free reign to dump harmful pollution into our atmosphere. Clean energy jobs would be sent overseas and our environment and health would be put at risk. Congress has to stop allowing big polluters and their Washington lobbyists to delay action on clean energy and instead start holding these big polluters accountable. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has already been given authority to protect the public from harmful carbon pollution. Even George W. Bush’s administration began taking steps to comply with this authority. President Obama and the EPA have continued on this course of action by issuing landmark vehicle standards that will save consumers money at the pump, cut global warming pollution, and reduce our oil dependence.

The science of global warming and the health and environmental risks that it poses are clear. Congress should be working extra hard to mitigate these risks by limiting greenhouse gas emissions and holding polluters accountable. Instead, Senator Rockefeller is coming to the defense of the oil industry and other corporate polluters by the introduction of this bill, a bill that would undermine people’s health, our environment and our clean energy future.

Despite clear warnings, Rockefeller and his allies are still planning to bring his new scheme to the Senate floor, a scheme that has absolutely no benefit to the American public. In a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 60% of likely voters said they support regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and refineries, with 34% opposed. Additionally, 54% said that they were confident in the EPA’s ability to be in charge of these emission regulations and 68% said that government should do more to hold corporations accountable. Clearly, the American public would not benefit from and certainly would not support this bill.

We therefore need our Senators to stand up to this legislation, which is a distraction from the real issues at hand. Senators Klobuchar and Franken shouldn’t waste taxpayers’ time and money by undermining the EPA’s authority to limit dangerous greenhouse gas pollution. They shouldn’t cave in to the corporate polluters’ well-funded attempts to line their pockets at our expense.

The risks posed by carbon pollution have never been clearer, nor have the lengths members of Congress will go to protect corporate polluters. Now is a real test for real leadership in Washington. Senators Klobuchar and Franken need to stand up to the Rockefeller proposal and corporate polluters, and instead, protect and listen to the people they represent. Us. If you agree, please call our Senators to let them know how you feel.

-Nina Whitney is third-year student

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