The Senate defeated today the latest attempt to attack the EPA and stop it from doing its job to protect public health.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s resolution (S.J. Res 37) would have overturned EPA’s finalized Mercury and Air Toxics standard, which puts long overdue (set in motion by Congress in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments) pollution controls on power plants – the largest U.S. emitters of mercury, a potent neurotoxin. According to the EPA, the standard would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 130,000 asthma attacks, and 47,000 heart attacks annually. The Senate rejected the resolution, 46-53, with both Democrats and Republicans voting against it.
In a Senate floor speech last Tuesday, Senator Inhofe bullied those who warn about the health consequences of mercury and other harmful pollution currently spewing from power plants. He accused “far left environmental groups” of working for the EPA to spread propaganda, and ridiculed a picture of a Sierra Club director holding her daughter while testifying about the public health benefits for children at a recent EPA hearing.
If Inhofe’s resolution had received the needed 50 votes for passage, not only would the EPA be forced to retract its Mercury and Air Toxics standard, they would be blocked from ever issuing a similar rule to protect public health. This would have given power plants a free pass to keep polluting indefinitely – and provided Inhofe with the power to keep pushing his anti-environment agenda in the Senate.
A broad coalition of public health, business, and environmental groups oppose the resolution – such as the American Lung Association, the Small Business Majority, and 91 city mayors (including the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago).
We thank the Senate for not allowing this attack on the EPA and letting them do their job to protect us from dangerous pollution!