Today, the House of Representatives passed a Dirty Air Act to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from limiting the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation’s biggest polluters. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), would also block future updates to the climate pollution limits for automobiles—updates that could further decrease the amount of costly gasoline on which Americans are dependent.
The following statement is from Earthjustice legislative representative Stephanie Maddin:
“Today the House passed a bill by Rep. Fred Upton and Ed Whitfield that will bail out big polluters from any responsibility for their excessive carbon dioxide pollution while costing Americans at the gas pump, damaging our health, and costing us in hospital bills.
“Yesterday, the Senate rejected a nearly identical measure by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), but unfortunately, the corporate special interests behind this Upton-Whitfield bill have found many more close friends in the House of Representatives, which has quickly become hostile ground for Americans who care about the health of their children, their right to breathe clean air, and their right to drink clean water.
“The science shows us that carbon dioxide pollution is expected to exacerbate asthma and lung diseases by worsening smog, and to increase deadly heat waves and extreme weather conditions. Carbon dioxide pollution and climate change pose far-reaching threats to this country and the businesses that keep us running, including increased risk of heavy storm surges and flooding, harm to clean drinking water supplies, significant crop failures, and disease outbreaks.
“With the passage of this bill in the House, the House majority has put polluter interests over the public interest. It’s a shameful day in the House of Representatives, who were hired to protect the American people, not corporate interests and big polluters.
“And as we have heard in today’s press reports, the House majority is not stopping with this bill in its efforts to block public health protections. They are also attempting to hijack the federal budget bill and use it as a vehicle for meeting these big polluter requests to block clean air controls.
“Will the situation get worse? Will the federal government shut down because House leadership is selfishly and stubbornly insisting on using the federal budget bill as a way to forward an ideological policy agenda?
“Our lives and our health are too important to be laid to waste by some political bargain.”