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April 6, 2011 

House Poised to Vote on Bill Blocking EPA from Setting First National Limits on Carbon Pollution and New Vehicle Emission Standards

Bill Undermines Science, Health Benefits, Consumer Savings

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2011) –The House of Representatives today is expected to vote on a bill (H.R. 910) that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon pollution from power plants and oil refineries.  The legislation also would undermine a national program to set global warming pollution standards for new cars and light trucks.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to vote tonight on four amendments to the Small Business Bill (S. 493) that also would block or delay the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to control carbon pollution.

Before the House vote, Lexi Shultz, climate and energy legislative director for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), today joined Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Lois Capps (D-CA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Paul Tonko (D-NY)--as well as officials from the American Lung Association and Operation Free--to criticize the House bill at a press conference hosted by the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.

“This bill would legislatively overturn the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that carbon emissions pose a clear threat to public health.” Shultz said. “Members of Congress who voted for this legislation just voted to put a big stop sign in the road to a healthy future for our children.”

Shultz pointed out that more than 2,500 scientists from across the country recently sent a letter urging Congress to allow the EPA to protect the public’s health from the “potentially calamitous” consequences of carbon emissions.

She also noted that a recent peer-reviewed EPA study concluded that the Clean Air Act, by preventing premature deaths and reducing health costs and missed work days, has been a valuable investment.  According to the report, in 2010 alone, the law saved 160,000 lives and generated environmental and health benefits of $1.3 trillion.  The cost of implementation that year was only $50 billion, which means the law’s benefits-cost ratio was 25 to 1.

The House legislation, sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), also would undermine a federal initiative that would save drivers thousands of dollars in gasoline costs over the life of their vehicles by establishing stronger global warming pollution and fuel efficiency standards, according to UCS.

“Why is Representative Upton trying to destroy standards that would save consumers money at the gas pump, curb pollution, and cut America’s oil dependence?” said Michelle Robinson, director of UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program. “This legislation would handcuff auto engineers at a time when we need them to be innovating and bringing new technology into the marketplace.”

The Obama administration is developing the next round of global warming and fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles sold between model years 2017 and 2025. Raising standards to approximately 60 miles per gallon would save owners $7,500 over the life of their vehicles at a gas price of $3.50 per gallon, according to a UCS analysis.

“America ships nearly $1 billion to foreign countries every day to pay for our oil dependence,” said Robinson. “By threatening clean vehicle standards, the Upton bill would keep this money flowing out of the U.S. instead of keeping it here to create jobs and help consumers.”

 

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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