The Senate Defeats Attacks on Clean Air and Carbon Reductions

The Senate has taken a strong stand in favor of preserving the Clean Air Act and protecting the American people from dangerous pollution. On Wednesday, senators rejected several proposals aimed at blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from doing its job of reducing carbon pollution.

Three of the dirty-air measures failed to garner more than a dozen votes. The fourth couldn’t get a simple majority, much less the 60 votes needed to pass. These votes make it clear: the Senate agrees with the Supreme Court that greenhouse gases are covered by the Clean Air Act.

The Senate’s support for clean air protections reflects what American voters want. NRDC conducted polls in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin, and we found that more than 70 percent of voters in every districts support clean air, the EPA’s authority to set limits on pollutants, and the need to tackle carbon pollution.

The House, however, may choose to side with big polluters instead of the public. As early as this afternoon, the chamber is expected to vote on its own bill—introduced by Representative Fred Upton (R-MI)—to prevent the EPA from limiting carbon pollution.

The Upton bill is not the direction the American people want to go. Even the majority of Representative Upton’s own constituents want to preserve the EPA’s ability to do its job. In NRDC’s February survey in Upton’s district, 62 percent of Upton’s constituents oppose his bill and 67 percent -- including 60 percent of Republicans – agreed with the statement that "Congress should let the EPA do its job," as opposed to the minority who believe that "Congress should decide" what actions are taken to curb carbon pollution.

If representatives vote in favor of Upton’s effort to undermine the Clean Air Act, the message will be clear: they will be casting their lot with dirty industries instead American voters and the public interest.

NRDC will be letting the American people know where our lawmakers stand. We will thank the clean air champions and we will hold accountable those who stood in the way of a cleaner future.

We will also continue to urge the Senate leadership and President Obama to stand firm in their opposition to misguided efforts to handcuff the EPA, including in the spending bill now being debated (click here to send your own message to the president).

Now is the time for all our elected officials to focus not on taking America backward, but on embracing the clean energy solutions that will protect our health, generate job growth, end our dependence on foreign oil, and confront the threat of climate change.

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