Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) strongly spoke out against the House's passage of the deceptive Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409), a broadly reaching bill that guts critical environmental protections for clean air and water, while rolling back recent progress made on fuel efficiency standards.
"It's like we're stuck in some sort of time warp -- a Groundhog Day to end all Groundhog Days," said Rep. Quigley in statement during consideration of the bill. "Denying climate science, eliminating the EPA's ability to reduce carbon pollution, killing the high-paying, long-term green jobs we're working so hard to create, endangering public health by allowing coal ash and mountaintop mining removal materials to pollute our valleys and streams -- these are not new topics to this Congress. These are all bills we've passed before, bills that have no hope in the Senate or on the President's desk, and no hope to do any good for this country."
n the 112th Congress, the House has voted 302 times to block action to address climate change, to halt efforts to reduce air and water pollution, to undermine protections for public lands and coastal areas, and to overall weaken the protection of the environment. In fact, H.R. 3409 contains four of the most extreme anti-environmental bills already passed earlier this Congress by the House. Some of the most egregious provisions include:
The bill nullifies the new fuel efficiency-carbon pollution standards for model year 2017 through 2025 vehicles, which were finalized on August 28, 2012 and are supported by 13 major auto manufacturers representing more than 90 percent of U.S. vehicle sales.
The bill nullifies the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, ensuring that power plants will not have to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that damages the brain and is especially dangerous for young children and pregnant women.
The bill eliminates the ability of EPA to reduce carbon pollution. It repeals EPA's science-based determination that carbon pollution endangers public health -- an unprecedented action which ignores the consensus conclusion of the world's most authoritative scientific organizations.
The bill undermines the Clean Water Act by eliminating the ability of EPA to ensure water quality, abolishing EPA's authority to apply minimum federal water quality standards sufficient to protect human health and aquatic life, if weaker state standards are in place.
The bill undermines public health by repealing a requirement that oil refineries and chemical plants disclose their pollution. In 2007, Congress required large carbon polluters to report their emissions of carbon pollution in order to inform the public and policy makers -- but this bill repeals that provision.
Organizations opposing H.R. 3409 include the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, American Lung Association and American Sustainable Business Council.
Rep. Quigley is serving his second term in the House of Representatives, where he has been a stalwart supporter of the environment. He has consistently worked to protect America's coastlines and has offered legislation that would ensure any new off-shore drilling prioritizes environmental protection over speedy and dangerous extraction. In March he spoke out on rising gas prices and the cost of foreign oil and earlier this year he offered an amendment provide greater disclosure and transparency before the construction of oil and gas pipelines. In 2011, Rep. Quigley reiterated his support for strong EPA regulation authority and protection of public health by voting against anti-regulatory, anti-environment legislation.