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Frances Beinecke

Frances Beinecke

Posted: June 7, 2010 11:31 AM

Murkowski Thinks Polluters Can Police Themselves

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This Thursday, lawmakers will likely vote on Senator Lisa Murkowski's resolution to undercut the government's authority to regulate global warming pollution.

I find it shocking that Senator Murkowski is moving forward with this resolution now--even as oil continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexico seven weeks after BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout.

Not only could the resolution prolong our oil addiction by delaying America's shift to cleaner energy, but it will also undermine one of the government's most effective tools for holding polluters accountable--the Clean Air Act.

Now is not the time to have faith in polluters' ability to police themselves.

Yet despite all of BP's broken promises about its safety measures and ability to clean up offshore spills, Senator Murkowski thinks we should trust polluters to handle the problem of global warming too. She doesn't want the EPA to get involved with limiting global warming pollution from power plants, oil refineries, and cars.

Indeed, her resolution would void recent EPA efforts to reduce dangerous pollution, including new standards to cut carbon emissions and improve fuel efficiency for new cars, SUVs, and light trucks--standards that also will save billions of gallons of gasoline.

Murkowski's resolution would knock the EPA rules of the picture, sacrificing a quarter of the fuel savings expected from standards set together with the Transportation Department. And that means consumers will buy 19 billion gallons of gasoline and spend around $57 billion at the pump that they wouldn't have to if the EPA retained its authority.

That may be good for the oil industry, but it's not good for Americans' health or pocketbooks.

Instead of indulging industry's desire to dump carbon pollution into the air without limit, senators should be working on cleaner, safer solutions.

They should pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that retains the EPA's ability to enforce pollution reductions. This is the most effective way to cut pollution, protect our oceans, and reduce our dependence on oil.


This post originally appeared on NRDC's Switchboard blog.