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February 3, 2011 

Rep. Upton’s Bill to Stifle EPA Threatens Public

Statement by Kevin Knobloch

WASHINGTON (Feb. 3, 2011) Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has introduced legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from addressing the public health and environmental threats posed by carbon dioxide pollution. 

Specifically, Upton’s bill would block the EPA from implementing the Clean Air Act to protect Americans from the dangers of carbon dioxide pollution and other greenhouse gases.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Clean Air Act required the agency to assess these threats and, based on an exhaustive review of the science, the EPA concluded that these emissions did endanger public health and welfare.

Below is a statement by Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“This legislation is an egregious example of serving the interests of major polluters at the expense of science, the public health and common sense. It’s a bill that puts our communities at risk by letting oil, coal and auto industries off the hook.  

“The Clean Air Act has protected the health of Americans for decades.  It clearly says that when scientists identify a pollutant that threatens public health and welfare, the government must act.  But now Representative Upton, working at the behest of oil companies and other big polluters, wants the government to shirk that responsibility.

“This would also block the EPA from setting new tailpipe pollution standards for cars and trucks—standards that have the support of 14 states, the United Auto Workers and public interest advocates, and the automakers themselves. Enacting this wrongheaded bill would cost the country jobs, increase America’s oil dependence, and force us to pay more at the gas pump.”

BACKGROUND ON VEHICLE STANDARDS

  • The EPA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently finalized the first phase of the national program—a set of two consistent standards that set fuel efficiency and tailpipe pollution standards for new automobiles sold between 2012 and 2016. According to the final regulatory documents, the EPA standards will save drivers an additional $58 billion at the gas pump, reduce U.S. oil consumption by 14 billion gallons, and cut 305 million metric tons of carbon pollution. 
  • The EPA and the DOT are now jointly working on new standards covering model years between 2017 and 2025, with the support of the automotive industry, the states, and consumer and environmental advocates.  The Upton bill would block the EPA from setting these standards.  
  • The EPA is also working with the DOT to set the first-ever fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.  According to UCS analysis, the proposed medium- and heavy-duty truck standards for model years 2014 to 2018 will create over 40,000 net new jobs and nearly $3 billion in additional economic activity in 2020.  These benefits would jump to nearly 80,000 net new jobs and more than $7 billion in increased gross domestic product in 2030.  Had the EPA not had the authority to set carbon pollution standards under the Clean Air Act, the agency would not have written these standards.  

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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