"Today's cancelled vote indicates that at least half of the Committee members understand that Americans want healthy air, not corporate welfare," said Earthjustice's Maria Weidner. "We thank those Senators who continue to oppose the rollbacks in S. 131 for continuing to stand up for the public's right to breathe healthy air."
Today's move comes two weeks after an abortive attempt to mark up this legislation was unexpectedly called off when the Committee's majority leadership concluded that they could not assemble enough votes to pass the bill out of Committee. Committee members have reportedly spent the intervening weeks in ongoing negotiations.
In the interim, the Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to release on March 15th its Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), along with a rulemaking on mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants that is already long overdue.
"As discussions continue, we urge Senators on the Committee to demand that EPA not delay implementation of the Clean Air Act," said James Cox, Counsel for Earthjustice. "EPA must not delay further in issuing strong rules to control interstate air pollution and toxic power plant pollution, including mercury. Cleaner air must not be delayed due to negotiations over ill-advised legislation that may never pass."
In the increasingly likely event that the bill does not have the votes to clear Committee, there is still the possibility that the majority leadership could attempt to bypass the Committee procedurally to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
Some of the most egregious ways the Corporate Air Pollution Plan would undercut current Clean Air Act protections include attempts to: