Murkowski ‘dirty air’ proposal would increase oil dependence, cost consumers at gas pump

The U.S. Senate is poised to vote Thursday on the Murkowski Resolution (see “Clean air Lisa vs. dirty air Lisa“).  EPA chief Jackson says passage would “increase our dependence on oil … by billions of barrels.”  Environment America has a new state-by-state analysis, confirming that conclusion, which I repost below:

Washington, DC””As oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico and just days before a major U.S. Senate vote on legislation that would block new rules requiring cars to use less oil, a new analysis finds that California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania would increase their oil consumption the most under the Senate bill – by as much as 62 million gallons in California alone in 2016.  The binding resolution, introduced by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, also would cost individual states millions at the gas pump in 2016, such as $75 million in additional costs to Floridians.  The impacts would be even greater over time.

The Environment America analysis provides the first state-by-state analysis of the impacts of the resolution on oil consumption and consumer costs at the pump.

“With the oil disaster in the Gulf wreaking havoc on people’s livelihoods and the environment, we need to end America’s dependence on oil, not make the problem worse,” said Environment America Federal Global Warming Program Director Emily Figdor.

The Senate will vote Thursday, June 10, on Senator Murkowski’s Congressional Review Act resolution (S.J.R. 26), which would block key policies to reduce America’s dependence on oil and other fossil fuels, including the historic clean cars standards finalized earlier this year.

On April 1, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation finalized a joint rule to decrease the oil consumption of Model Year 2012-2016 cars and light trucks sold in the United States.  But, if Senator Murkowski’s resolution were enacted, EPA would have to rescind its standard, forfeiting one-quarter of the joint rule’s oil savings – 455 billion barrels of oil nationally over the lifetimes of those vehicles – according to the EPA.

Moreover, the resolution would prohibit the EPA from setting similar standards for big trucks and buses and post-2016 passenger vehicles – actions President Obama announced on May 21 in the Rose Garden and which could cut America’s oil use by billions of additional barrels.

Environment America’s analysis examines the state-by-state impacts of blocking EPA’s Model Year 2012-2016 clean cars standard.  Since the analysis is limited to the impacts of blocking this one standard, the results underestimate the effect of the resolution on oil use and consumer costs.  Key findings include the following:

  • Oil use would increase the most in California (62 million gallons), Texas (37 million gallons), Florida (28 million gallons), New York (19 million gallons), Illinois (17 million gallons), Ohio (17 million gallons), and Pennsylvania (17 million gallons) in 2016.  Oil use would increase the least in Alaska (1 million gallons), North Dakota (1 million gallons), Rhode Island (1 million gallons), South Dakota (1 million gallons), Vermont (1 million gallons), and Wyoming (1 million gallons) in 2016.
  • The resolution would cost consumers in individual states from $2 million in Alaska in 2016 to as much as $187 million in California, assuming gas costs the same as it does today.  On average, the resolution would cost individual states $25 million in 2016.

“This bailout would increase America’s oil dependence and give Big Oil millions that belong in consumers’ pocketbooks,” said Figdor.

Senator Murkowski is the #3 recipient in Congress of money from Big Oil and the #2 recipient of money from electric utilities so far this election cycle.  Her resolution is backed by Big Oil and other polluters and opposed by national security and veterans organizations, the UAW, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, former Republican EPA Administrator Russell Train, American Academy of Pediatrics, thousands of scientists, environmental organizations, and governors, attorneys general, and top environmental officials of numerous states.

EPA would have to rescind its clean cars standards because the Murkowski resolution would veto EPA’s scientific finding that global warming pollutants endanger human health and the environment – a prerequisite for any and all Clean Air Act rules to reduce the pollution from cars and other sources, such as old, dirty coal-fired power plants and heavy industry.

“This bill is an unprecedented attack on the Clean Air Act protections that have cost-effectively cut dangerous pollution to safeguard our health and environment for 40 years, while also driving technological innovation,” said Figdor.

The Congressional Review Act is a rarely used law that provides Congress expedited procedures to void agency rules.  Senator Murkowski needs just a majority vote to pass her resolution.

“The Senate should defeat this reckless bill and act swiftly to lessen the extensive damage caused in the Gulf, cut our oil dependence, and move to a clean energy economy that caps carbon pollution and finally prioritizes energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy,” concluded Figdor.

— Environment America

5 Responses to Murkowski ‘dirty air’ proposal would increase oil dependence, cost consumers at gas pump

  1. Daniel Ives says:

    Hey Joe,

    Apparently Murkowski is “flabbergasted” that the Gulf disaster and our dependcence on fossil fuels are related to the EPA regulation issue.

  2. prokaryote says:

    Norway has banned new deepwater oil drilling in the North Sea in a sign that panic over BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill is spreading.

    As the political fallout moved beyond America, U.S. President Barack Obama attacked BP chief executive Tony Hayward, saying he should have been sacked for tactless comments after the spill.

    Britain ruled out a moratorium “for the moment” on deepwater exploration, but Norway, its North Sea neighbour, said it had sufficient concerns to halt all new drilling until a full inquiry is conducted into the cause of BP’s leak.

    Terje Riis-Johansen, Norway’s oil minister, said: “What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico is so unique, it’s gone on for such a long time, the blowout is so big, we must gather enough information from it before we move on.”

    Read more:

  3. fj2 says:

    Murkoswki’s challenge to action on climate change is totally irresponsible and must have no chance of succeeding.

  4. Chris Dudley says:

    I think the study is a little unrealistic in its assumption that gasoline prices stay the same. The market is sensitive to perceptions of where demand is headed. Planned unbridled US demand will drive the price of oil up because it makes us look like rubes.