One of these things is not like the other…

SmokestacksI was reminded of this song from my childhood this week. It goes something like this: “One of these things is not like the other…one of these things just doesn’t belong…”

While Minnesota Senator Al Franken took the right step to propose a Senate Resolution to support the Clean Air Act and voted against all four amendments, Senator Klobuchar voted in favor of two amendments that would weaken the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide pollution. It is extremely disappointing for Minnesotan’s, who place a high priority on clean water, clean air and protecting our health, to see Senator Klobuchar side with polluters at the expense of Minnesotan’s health and environment.

Despite the Clean Air Act’s 40 year track record of cost-effectively cutting dangerous pollution, and the many serious health and environmental threats posed by climate change, several amendments were voted on in the U.S. Senate this week which would block or weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to clean up carbon dioxide pollution.  The proposals, which thankfully were all defeated on April 6, were offered by Sens. McConnell (R-KY), Rockefeller (D-WV), Baucus (D-MT), Stabenow (D-MI) and Brown (D-OH) as amendments to an unrelated small business bill (S. 493).

In two votes this week Senator Klobuchar voted in favor of the Baucus and Stabenow amendments. The “consensus” amendment proposed by Senator Max Baucus of Montana included concessions to polluters that ignore the reality of air pollution’s harmful effects on public health, for instance by prohibiting the EPA from regulating pollution on land use changes (like cutting down a forest). The Baucus provision prevents large carbon polluters (specifically agriculture and small businesses) from having to follow new permitting requirements, allowing the massive dump of pollution into the air we breathe, increasing the rates of asthma attacks, lung infections, cancer and other illnesses.

She also voted for the Stabenow/Brown amendment, which would create a two-year delay for oil refineries and manufacturing industries to meet the EPA’s new carbon pollution regulations.

Thankfully, none of these proposals roll back the Clean Air Act.

Last year alone, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than 160,000 early deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, and 1.7 million asthma attacks. A February 2011 poll released by the American Lung Association showed that, 68 percent of voters oppose Congressional action that impedes the EPA from updating clean air standards generally and 64 percent oppose Congressional efforts to stop the EPA from updating standards on carbon dioxide.

Senator Klobuchar stood virtually alone on this vote with six other Senators. Please let Senator Klobuchar you are disappointed by her vote this week by taking action. And, if you can, tell Senator Franken thank you for protecting our health and environment.

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