The Skywriter

Sen. Rockefeller's latest attack on the Clean Air Act


Sen. Rockefeller's latest attack on the Clean Air Act

Senator Rockefeller

Today, there were a lot of not-so-big surprises in energy news. The Chamber of Commerce declared that we should drill, baby, drill for more oil and coal; allies of big polluters in Congress announced that we should stop picking on dirty energy industries for polluting; and Republicans announced that they are against government intervention in the energy sector.

Even less surprising was the continuation of the Senator Jay Rockefeller's (D, WV) coal company love story. We get it: Senator Rockefeller thinks that by gutting the Clean Air Act and stopping regulations relating to climate change he is sticking up for the future of mining (or at least mining execs?). Unfortunately, we can't mine our way out of this mess. We can't make coal the energy of the future by subsidizing it.

We are talking about an industry that is expelling huge amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury, and carbon dioxide into our air. The coal industry might have a lot of money, but it sure doesn't have many jobs. In fact, they can barely compete with the wind industry in job creation.

Why support an industry that is spewing toxic pollution that exponentially increases the impacts of global warming?

Well, last year, big polluters like the coal industry spent more than $500 million in lobbying and campaign expenses to convince our elected officials that we shouldn't regulate pollution. In fact, the industry has pumped over $350,000 into Rockefeller campaign funds alone. Could that have an effect?

Does $500 million buy the death of the Clean Air Act? If not, it sure is one heck of a battle-cry.

The goal of gutting the Clean Air Act is not to keep coal jobs, it's to allow big polluters to keep on pumping out limitless amounts of carbon pollution, lead, arsenic, and mercury until the market decides that there is more money somewhere else.

That's bad policy, bad planning, and just plain dangerous. By the time the market gets around to clean energy, it will be too late: we will be reliant on China for clean energy technology, and the chance to keep those jobs for ourselves will have long slipped away.

It's not too late. The battle over the Clean Air Act and the climate crisis is far from over, and we still have time to prove that boots on the ground can have more force than money in the coffers. Tell President Obama and our elected leaders to refute the influence of big polluters and commit to defending the one of the most successful pieces of legislation in modern American history: the Clean Air Act.

While you're at it, make sure to give some extra special attention to the other co-sponsors of the Clean Air Act rollback: Kent Conrad (ND), Tim Johnson (SD), Joe Manchin (D, WV), Ben Nelson (D, NE), and Jim Webb (D, VA)

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