Dirty Air Act

Will Obama Sell Out the Clean Air Act for a Deal With Congress?

1
Apr
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I was going to devote this blog exclusively to the energy speech President Obama delivered at Georgetown University, but there are some disturbing reports in the press today that I need to address first.

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Policy Update 3/24/11: Continuing Dirty Air Acts in the U.S. Senate

24
Mar
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Last week Republicans in the Senate threatened to force a vote on the Upton-Inhofe Dirty Air Act. A vote will be delayed until after the one-week recess but it goes to show how committed big polluters and their allies in Congress are to gutting the Clean Air Act every chance they get. Energy-related disasters and conflicts in Japan and Libya continue to influence the U.S. dialogue on energy and climate policy.

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Big polluters and their allies in Congress lie about gas prices

14
Mar
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As the 2012 elections draw closer, the numbers at the pump could directly effect the ones at the polls. President Obama has had to quash criticisms that the climbing gas prices were owed to stalled domestic oil production. Rather, the spike is owed to the Middle East instability and most noticeably the unrest in Libya.
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Policy Update 1/11/11: An attack on all who serve

11
Jan
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Saturday's attack on Tucson, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords (D-AZ) has Capitol Hill on edge. Republican House leadership plans to delay consideration of the hyper-partisan health care repeal bill, and will instead pay tribute to Giffords by dismissing Congress for the week. Discussions of gun control and violent political messages are expected to ensue in the coming week.

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Policy Update 10/6/2010 - EPA/DOT Propose Stronger Auto Efficiency Standards (VIDEO)

4
Oct
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Last week, President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) announced their intent to set progressively stronger efficiency standards for new cars: 47-62 mpg by 2025. Congress wrapped up its pre-election business promptly to allow members to return home and campaign.

Congressional Timeline:

  • 11/2: Election Day
  • 11/15: Beginning of Senate Lame Duck session (tentative)

Obama Administration proposes another strong cars rule

In spring of 2009, President Obama worked with automakers to push for 35.5 mpg standards by 2016, and is now beginning a second rulemaking process that will set even stronger standards for new vehicles: 47-62 mpg by 2025, which represents a 3-6% annual improvement beyond the existing 2016 standards. This announcement represents a stage of administrative rulemaking called a "Notice of Intent" (NOI), essentially a draft rule made public to allow stakeholders to weigh in. The final rule will not be finalized until July of 2012.

Our allies at Environment America, Sierra Club, and other groups are advocating for a 60 mpg standard. According to the EPA, a 62 mpg standard is doable if much of the new fleet is made up of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

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Policy update 9/14/10: Congress resumes

14
Sep
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Both chambers of Congress will resumed after a five-week recess. With Labor Day behind them, and football season underway, both parties are in election mode, and no major legislation is expected to be considered. Addressing the expired Bush tax cuts will take up most of the air time, but there's a chance we could see movement on some smaller energy packages, namely Home Star.

Congressional Timeline:

  • 9/13: Congress returns from recess
  • 10/8: Target adjournment for the House and Senate
  • 11/2: Election Day
  • 11/15: Beginning of Senate lame duck session (tentative)

Congressional Priorities

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) suggested that a narrow energy bill could be considered in the next few weeks, including Home Star and a package of incentives for natural gas trucks. Senator Reid does not plan on bringing up a broader energy bill before the elections, but has been saying that both a "spill bill" and a federal RES are still in play. Reid has also been more and more blunt in saying that a cap on carbon will not be considered this year. The big agenda item for both houses of Congress will be to address the Bush tax cuts, set to expire at the end of the year.

Retiring Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) has agreed to provide the 60th vote needed to push through a package of small-business incentives, including a $30 billion loan fund to improve access to credit. The bill would then bounce to the House, where it is expected to pass quickly. House Democratic leaders also plan to advance their "Make it in America" slate of smaller incentives aimed at reviving the U.S. manufacturing sector.

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Weekly Round-Up 7/02/10: Climate loses a potential champ in Byrd

2
Jul
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Earlier this week, legendary West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd passed away. It is unlikely that an environmental organization would have written positively about a pro-coal senator, but in recent years the late Senator Byrd realized the toll that the coal industry was taking on the environment and his beloved West Virginia. Robert C. Byrd, who once fought hard for coal mining and against regulating it in his early years, had an epiphany:

The industry of coal must also respect the land that yields the coal, as well as the people who live on the land. If the process of mining destroys nearby wells and foundations, if blasting and digging and relocating streams unearths harmful elements and releases them into the environment causing illness and death, that process should be halted and the resulting hazards to the community abated.
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A Rebuttal to Sen Murkowski's "Dirty Air Act" Op-Ed: Is She Serious?

9
Jun
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Nothing in D.C. should really surprise me anymore. But this week, my staff pointed me to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s cynical and misdirected op-ed piece attempting to justify her assault on the Clean Air Act. The Senator’s justification for her “Dirty Air Act” -- Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 26), scheduled for a vote later this week -- really galled me.

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DC Hill Udate 6/8/10: Murkowski "Dirty Air Act" vote this week

8
Jun
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The Senate returned from recess on Monday and, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), discussing energy-related legislation is at the top of their agenda. The BP spill has the potential to transform the energy debate in Congress. Leadership in the Senate and the White House have an opportunity to pivot off of the BP spill and drive our energy policy in a new direction.

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Weekly roundup 6/4/10: Day 46 of the BP oil disaster

4
Jun
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I really, really wish I didn't have to lead today's roundup with more on the BP oil disaster, but since the oil spill is now in its 46th day, I'm afraid I have no choice. I also wish I didn't have to nag you again about Lisa Murkowski (R-Exxon/BP/Shell/etc.) and her seek-and-destroy mission against the Clean Air Act, but you deal with the senators you have, not the ones you wish you had. Thankfully it's not all doom-and-gloom in Roundupville: this week we heard some of the strongest language in favor of a comprehensive climate and energy bill from President Obama than we've heard in awhile.

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