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Big Oil Bailout Blocked in Senate



June 10, 2010
Contact: Kathleen Ridihalgh, 206-378-0114 x305

Senators Murray and Cantwell Voted against Murkowski Resolution that Would’ve Impeded Global Warming Action and Washington’s Clean Car rule

SEATTLE - The Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club praised Senators Murray and Cantwell today for voting against a resolution that would have bailed out Big Oil and blocked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing the Clean Air Act to reduce global warming pollution. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s disapproval resolution failed on a vote of 53-47.

"It would have been remarkably irresponsible to allow polluters to be exempted from even more environmental laws as oil continues to gush into the gulf," said Kathleen Ridihalgh, Sr. Field Representative for the Sierra Club. "Now is the time to crack down on these industries, not let them off the hook. We commend Senators Murray and Cantwell for taking a stand. The Senate did the right thing by rejecting this measure."

Senator Murkowski’s resolution would have erased the finding of EPA that global warming pollution is a threat to human health and safety, and would have blocked action required by the Supreme Court. The effect would have been to weaken the Clean Air Act, leaving oil and coal companies free to keep on putting global warming pollution into the air without any safeguards or regulation. It also would have undone the Clean Car rules passed by Washington and many other states.

If Murkowski’s had plan had gone through, it would’ve prevented EPA from cleaning up the carbon pollution from refineries and other facilities. Adding insult to injury, the legislation would have stalled new fuel economy rules for cars and trucks that are on track to reduce our oil dependence and save consumers at the pump.

"Senators who voted for this resolution claim that it's the Senate's job to act on global warming--we couldn't agree more," said Ridihalgh. "Instead of challenging EPA's authority to reduce global warming pollution, the Senate must challenge itself to take responsibility and pass strong, comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year."

Background:  In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions are a danger to public health, and therefore should be subject to limits under the Clean Air Act could. George W. Bush’s administration began taking steps to comply with this ruling. President Obama and EPA have continued on this course of action by issuing landmark vehicle standards that will save consumers money at the pump, cut global warming pollution, and reduce our oil dependence.