WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced a sweeping assault on public health and the Clean Air Act.
Their new bills (H.R. 910 in the House and a companion bill in the Senate) are in line with similar recent attacks on Maine’s clean air and clean water, in amendments to the original funding bill passed by the House of Representatives on February 19, and in bills from Senators Barrasso and Rockefeller that block EPA’s limits on dangerous carbon dioxide pollution. The Upton-Inhofe bill would not only block EPA from cleaning up carbon dioxide pollution from the largest pollution sources, but would also overturn scientific findings regarding the threats posed by global warming and even block states from moving ahead with their own clean car standards, an initiative in which Maine has been a national leader.
Environment Maine Field Associate Nathaniel Meyer issued the following statement in response:
“Congressman Upton and Senator Inhofe have launched a brazen attack on Mainers’ public health and our environment. By doing the bidding of America’s biggest polluters, they are placing the health of our children, elderly citizens and other vulnerable populations at risk. We are encouraged that our Senators Snowe and Collins have not endorsed this proposal and urge them to stand up for our health and reject this attack. . The EPA and the Clean Air Act, to which Maine Senators Edmond Muskie and George Mitchell were instrumental, have been protecting public health and the environment from dangerous pollution for decades and this success should be built upon, not torn down.
“Global warming presents serious threats to Mainers’ health, our economy, our way of life, and our future. The year 2010 tied as the hottest year on record globally, and if left unchecked, global warming will lead to more deadly heat waves, more unhealthy air days, the spread of infectious disease, and more frequent and intense storms. Maine’s winter tourism will also take a hit. But while EPA scientists have recognized the threats posed by global warming, the Upton-Inhofe bill would overturn such findings, essentially saying that Congress knows climate science better than the climate scientists themselves.
“Rather than heeding the science and letting the EPA and the states do their job to protect public health and our environment, Congressman Upton and Senator Inhofe are trying to give the biggest polluters a free pass to keep polluting and threatening our health. In the House Continuing Resolution debate, Representatives Pingree and Michaud fought for Mainers by voting against several amendments that are similar to this bill. I hope they continue to do so, and Senators Snowe and Collins should reject these attacks in the Senate and instead stand up for cleaner air and a healthier future."
Environment Maine is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working to protect clean air and water, preserve Maine’s extraordinary natural heritage, and move the state toward a clean energy future. www.environmentmaine.org