Late night with the House truth SEEC-ers
By Valeri Vasquez, CAP Energy Policy Special Assistant
Late Tuesday night members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, or SEEC, showed their commitment to public health and job creation, taking to the House floor to voice strong opposition to the GOP-proposed “Dirty Air Act“, which aims to strip the Clean Air Act of essential safeguards. The Dirty Air Act is supported by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), James Inhofe (R-OK), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Rush Holt (D-NJ) cited the health, economic, and security threats posed by the proposed bill. Noting that “it’s not-cost free to repeal this all-important environmental piece of legislation,” Rep. Connolly emphasized that thanks to the reductions of carbon dioxide pollution from vehicles under the Clean Air Act, “Americans will see vehicle gas consumption reduced by an average 30 percent, saving the average car owner over $2,000.”
He went on to say that gutting the Clean Air Act would force an annual increase and millions of barrels in OPEC imports, funneling billions of dollars each year to unstable, potentially hostile nations.
SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Tonko warned that the GOP’s proposal to repeal Clean Air Act standards for carbon dioxide, methane, and other harmful greenhouse gases threatens an “outstanding 40-year track record: there are children who breathe more easily, and there are lives that have been saved.” His words were seconded today by nearly 2,000 health professionals and 2,500 scientists who released two separate letters in defense of the bill’s regulations, “urging Congress to support the EPA’s authority to take actions that will protect public health and address global warming.”
Rep. Tonko appealed to bipartisanship, wondering aloud why a session of Congress that has to date been “all about jobs” would “walk away from jobs potential and public health improvements for the sake of politics.” His commonsense question is backed by the clear economic benefits of Clean Air Act, benefits projected to reach to $2 trillion in 2020 alone.
In her closing remarks, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) reminded her colleagues that
When it was passed in 1970, the Clean Air Act was enacted with strong bipartisan support. Like today, we had a divided government, with both parties coming together to enact a law that would protect public health and the environment, as well as our economy.
We must reject any effort to repeal our valuable protections, and recommit our pledge to the American people to work toward a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.
Healthier air for our children, safer energy sources for our vehicles, and an economic boost into the bargain: the decision seems so simple.
— By Valeri Vasquez, CAP Energy Policy Special Assistant