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March 11, 2011

Making Our Voices Heard in Congress

DC In a joint effort to defend the Clean Air Act, the Sierra Club and coalition of more than 10 environmental organizations held over 30 meetings with House representatives in Washington, DC, yesterday in order to encourage support for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

EPA has been continuously under attack during this session of Congress by politicians who are putting Big Coal and Big Oil in front of people. The Sierra Club supports EPA's safeguards against pollutants. This day of meetings on Capitol Hill was a great opportunity to tell our lawmakers that we need them to stand up for EPA.  

The main goal of these meetings was to encourage members of Congress to sign onto the Waxman-Dingell-Rush letter (Download the Waxman-Dingell-Rush letter PDF), which supports the Clean Air Act. However, we also provided information to encourage the Congressmen supporting the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act has been object to numerous attacks in Congress only this year. These attacks would reduce or repeal EPA's authority to protect Americans from greenhouse gases. Some of these attacks in the House, include:

1) Rep. Marsha Blackburn's (TN-7) HR 97 to bar any greenhouse gas from being defined as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
2) Rep. Ted Poe's (TX-2) HR 153 prohibits any federal funds from being used to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources.
3) Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's (WV-2) HR 199 would enact a two-year delay of any federal regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources.
4) Rep. Tim Walberg's (MI-7) HR 750 to prohibit any federal action to address global warming, whether via the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, or the National Environmental Protection Act.
5) Rep. Fred Upton’s (MI-6) Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R.910) to block EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act to enact protections against global warming pollution and to bar any greenhouse gas from being defined as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. This Bill passed a key subcommittee on yesterday.

On the Senate side, there are four bills circulated that would delay or repeal EPA's authority to protect Americans from greenhouse gases. These include:
1) Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) S.231 that would enact a two year delay of any federal regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources.
2) Sen. John Barrasso's (R-WY) S.228 to prohibit any federal action to regulate greenhouse gases.
3) Sen. James Inhofe's bill (R-OK) would bar any greenhouse gas from being defined as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, reverse the endangerment finding, and prohibit federal efforts to address greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act.
4) Sen. David Vitter's (R-LA) S.15 that prohibits U.S. regulation of greenhouse gases until China, India, and Russia have taken comparable action.

The Sierra Club encourages Americans to take action by meeting with your your Congressional representatives to make sure they do the right thing by supporting the Clean Air Act and EPA.

-- Elizabeth Lopez, Sierra Club Global Warming and Energy team

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