Three strikes and we are all out

This blog was written by Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | April 6, 2011 | Climate Change, Energy Policy

Post-Vote Update: On Wednesday, April 6, the Senate rejected all 4 amendments to a Small Business Bill (S. 493) that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to control carbon pollution through the Clean Air Act.  On Thursday, April 7, the House voted on the “Dirty Air Act,” H.R. 910, which would have done the same. Although that bill passed out of the House by a vote of 255-172, the failure of its companion in the Senate (the McConnell amendment) suggests these measures won’t advance for now. Nevertheless, proponents say they will continue to fight for these rollbacks during this Congress.

Last week, America threw the first pitches in the 2011 baseball season.  This week, Congress and the White House will decide if it’s three strikes and we’re all out of luck when it comes to protecting public health and clean air.  That’s because Clean Air Act opponents in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have scheduled votes this afternoon on whether or not to rollback Clean Air Act protections.

Despite wide and varied opposition to any form of delay in using the Clean Air Act to reduce health-threatening global warming pollution, it’s conceivable that both chambers could pass similar measures today, essentially offering a free pass to the nation’s largest polluters to continue degrading public health and diminishing our environment with unchecked carbon pollution.

A third, and most critical, strike could come from the White House as the President and his advisers are determining whether or not to veto any of these bad measures attached to must-pass spending bills which are needed to stave off a government shutdown in the coming days – reminiscent of the 1995 shutdown.  There is still time for calls to Congress to urge elected officials to stand with health, environmental, consumer, low-income and faith advocates as well as representatives of the business and science community instead of with polluters – the question is how many of our elected leaders are listening?

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