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Senate Tramples Four Dirty Air Acts

The Senate just voted to reject four—count 'em 1-2-3-4—bad amendments that would strangle and block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from being able to limit dangerous carbon dioxide pollution from the nation's biggest polluters.

These Dirty Air Acts went down in the upper chamber today because enough of the Senate still obviously believes that the well-being, future and health of Americans are more important than corporate special interests.

The amendments were offered on an unrelated small business innovation bill (S.493) by Sens. Rockefeller (S.AMDT.215), McConnell and Inhofe (S.AMDT.183), Baucus (S.AMDT.236), and Stabenow (S.AMDT.265).

Read Earthjustice's statement on today's Senate win for Americans, our health, and our future.

Now that the Senate has secured a victory for all Americans who breathe and whose businesses, families, and livelihood depend on a secure future for this country, eyes turn to the House, which is debating a Dirty Air Act of its own at this very moment.

The House is expected to vote on its own Dirty Air Act by Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY)—an extreme, overreaching measure identical to one of the measures that just failed in the Senate (by Sens. McConnell and Inhofe). Like the McConnell-Inhofe amendment that just failed in the Senate, the House Upton-Whitfield version would block the EPA from being able to move forward with its limits on the excessive carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters. This would give the worst polluters a lifetime get-out-of-jail card. Upton and Whitfield's bill would also block EPA controls that improve fuel economy standards for autos, costing Americans severely at the gas pump.

It is more urgent than ever that we all call and write our House representatives and tell them to oppose this Upton-Whitfield Dirty Air Act. It is expected to hit the House floor for a full chamber vote this evening or tomorrow morning.

Further, just because the Senate defeated these attacks today does not mean we are out of the woods. The fight is clearly not won yet.

Consider today's vote a preliminary staging for future votes to stranglehold the EPA on climate change pollution. Guaranteed, these pieces of legislation will come up again and again -- even in the Senate which defeated them today. It's important that we let our senators know that their votes against the EPA and against protective and commonsense pollution controls will be held against them.

So stay tuned—we're putting together a list of who voted for what in the Senate today so that you can make your voices heard and hold your senators accountable. This is fundamental step to defeating the corporate special interests that are intent on taking over Congress.

And finally, tell President Obama not to compromise these protections under any circumstances—not as amendments on a small-business bill like we saw today, and not as riders on a budget deal in Congress.