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February 01, 2011

Say it in Star Wars: Dismantling the EPA

Lately, it really does feel like The Empire is Striking Back. Our Big Kahuna Mike Brune (that's our executive director, y'all), after the difficult election back in November, wrote that "The Dirty Energy Empire broke all campaign spending records and used their financial Death Star to target any politician who took a stand on clean energy and global warming."

True story. And now, we're about to see what that Empire looks like. What will be the metaphorical Alderaan? Which communities will the Empire stomp all over in its quest for dirty fuel? And most importantly, who will be Han Solo? All these important questions, answered:

Dark politics approach as this Congress starts picking up speed.  To protect health and environmental quality, normal people establish laws, guidelines, and standards. Lords of the Dark Side get rid of these laws, guidelines, and standards.

This is how they do it:

1) Disapproving, through legislation, rules established by the scientists at the EPA, using the Congressional Review Act (similar to Senator Lisa Murkowski's bill (R-AK), from last year).

2) Appropriations riders to defund EPA rules. (Appropriations riders allocate money for federal programs. No funding for EPA rules means no rule enforcement.)

3) Delaying EPA's authority to clean up greenhouse gas emissions. H.R. 97 introduced by Rep. Marcia Blackburn (R-TN-7) would amend the Clean Air Act to stipulate that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act. We also expect Rep. Upton (R-MI-6) to craft a bill that inhibits EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

In the 40 years since Americans demanded its creation, the EPA has saved millions of lives by enforcing clean air and water standards. More than 1.7 million asthma attacks and $110 billion in healthcare costs were avoided in 2010 alone, thanks to the agency's efforts.

Dismantling environmental protections would be catastrophic for our health and for the quality of our environment.

I'll say it in Star Wars: Dismantling environmental protections would be like giving Chancellor Palpatine emergency executive powers.

Are you willing to leave your moisture farm and go fight for justice? Get started. Send a letter to the editor. Sign up to volunteer with us. And buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

-- Flavia de la Fuente, Sierra Club Conservation Organizer

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