Portland and Bangor, ME — Late yesterday, two U.S. Senators introduced dangerous legislation that seeks to block new public health protections. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), along with seven other Senators, introduced a bill that would block limits on global warming pollution from federal agencies, undermining landmark laws like the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
At the same time, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced a bill to block for at least two years Environmental Protection Agency limits on global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution in the U.S. The bill is cosponsored by six other Senators.
Environment Maine Field Associate Nathaniel Meyer issued the following statement in response:
“We are pleased that Senators Snowe and Collins have not joined Senators Barrasso and Rockefeller in doing the bidding of the nation’s biggest polluters and placing the health of Maine’s children, elderly citizens and other vulnerable populations at risk. The EPA and the Clean Air Act have been successfully protecting public health and the environment from dangerous pollution for four decades and this success should be built upon—not torn down.
“Global warming presents serious threats to Maine’s health, our economy, 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.
“Rather than letting the EPA do its job to protect public health and our environment, some senators are trying to give the biggest polluters a free pass to keep polluting and threatening our health. Thankfully, Senators Snowe and Collins did not cosponsor these dangerous proposals. We urge all of Congress to reject these attacks and instead stand up for cleaner air and a healthier future. Former Maine Senators Edmund Muskie and George Mitchell were instrumental in the creation of the Clean Air Act, and our current Senators can continue that proud legacy by standing up to big polluters and protecting public health.”
Environment Maine was joined by Shawn Yardley, Past-President of the Maine Public Health Association, in criticizing the new proposals:
“For 40 years, the health of citizens in Maine and across the country has benefited from the dramatic reductions in air pollution achieved by the Clean Air Act,” said Yardley. “We urge Senators Snowe and Collins to build on this success and the legacy left by former Maine Senators Muskie and Mitchell, rather than putting the public’s health at risk by weakening the Clean Air Act and allowing more dangerous pollution into our air. These bills would move us backward at a time when we need to be moving forward.”
Environment Maine is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization with more than 5,000 members and activists that works to preserve Maine’s open spaces, protect clean air and water, and move the state toward a clean energy future. www.environmentmaine.org