Senators’ “Sneak-Attack” on the EPA

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/colin_n/3178266540/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Colin Nederkoorn</a>/Flickr.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Today the Senate will consider two bills that would clamp down on the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act. This comes on the day after the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in favor of Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) Energy Tax Prevention Act, or HR 910, which would overturn the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Today, the Senate will vote on two items: an amendment introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that essentially attaches HR 910 as an amendment to an unrelated small business bill, and a bill by Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), which puts a hold on the EPA’s regulatory powers for two years.

Rockefeller, who racked up $31,200 in campaign contributions from Peabody Energy from 2005 through 2010, claims he’s “not for” a bill “which abolishes the EPA” and “strips them all of funding”—it’s simply that Congress needs an opportunity to enact climate legislation. If last summer’s fizzling of the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill is any sign, the chances of Congress doing so in the foreseeable future are slim to none. Nevertheless, Rockefeller’s bill won the support of six other Democratic senators. (MoJo’s Kate Sheppard has more on this.)

In essence, McConnell and Rockefeller’s motions represent a “sneak-attack” on the EPA, as the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Dan Lashof puts it. And according to NRDC’s Pete Altman, these actions are moving forward despite strong opposition from public interest groups including the American Lung Association, the Consumers Union, and the Small Business Majority.

Meanwhile, a recent poll from NRDC found that 63 percent of likely voters agreed that Congress should not stop the EPA from updating air quality standards, and 69 percent thought that “EPA scientists, rather than Congress, should set pollution standards.” And in California, where GOP members are now trying to pre-empt a strict carbon-emissions law, voters just swatted down an oil-industryfunded initiative to suspend that law by a 62 percent to 39 percent margin.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.