Senator Gillibrand Blasts Murkowski Amendment As "An Assault On The Clean Air Act"

Press Release

By:  Kirsten Gillibrand
Date: Jan. 21, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement to the record against Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski's amendment to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act:

"Mr. President, I rise today to speak against the proposed Amendment from the Senator from Alaska. Mr. President, this resolution of disapproval goes against good public health policy and poses a serious threat to my constituents in New York - and all Americans -- undermining our ability to advance efforts to clean our air and water and leave our world a better, healthier place.

"This assault on the Clean Air Act would handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency, stripping it of its authority to regulate dangerous greenhouse gases. Mr. President, this amendment would let large scale polluters off the hook by scrapping requirements for electric generation facilities to use modern technology to reduce emissions and produce cleaner energy.

"If passed, this amendment would send a message that the United States will remain reliant on outdated and inefficient energy technologies and delay investment in new, clean technologies that would spur innovation and create good-paying, American jobs, all across this great nation.

"For my constituents in New York, this amendment stands for more air pollution in our communities, more acid rain devastating natural treasures like the Adirondacks, ever-increasing asthma rates for our children, and a failure to take action when action is long overdue.

"Mr. President, regulatory uncertainty is undermining our national interests and giving countries like China and India the ability to eclipse our nation in developing the next generation of energy technologies - that we, the United States, should be leading the way on.

"Supporters of this amendment are essentially saying that they do not believe the worldwide scientific consensus regarding climate change, and that they don't believe greenhouse gases pose a threat to human health - despite decades of world-class science that predate it, and the clarion call from public health advocates across the country.

"Mr. President, a vote for this amendment would be a vote for more pollution and increased protection of those polluters. It would encourage a regression in the environmental progress that has been made over the last 40 years, and represents a denial of the need to create jobs and revitalize our economy with clean, renewable, American power.

"We need to pass comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation that will create jobs by spurring investment and innovation, enhance our national security by moving our nation forward on a path to energy independence, protect our air and water by reducing pollution, and decrease energy costs for American families.

"The science is clear and we cannot afford to wait. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting against this attempt to undermine action to tackle climate change and urge this body to move forward with comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation. Thank you Mr. President, and I note the absence of quorum."