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SEEC blasts Republicans' Dirty Air Act

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Today members of the House of Representatives Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC) blasted Republican draft legislation to repeal Clean Air Act standards for carbon, methane, and other pollution. SEEC leaders said that this "Dirty Air Act" would gut important pollution controls and roll back American clean energy progress in favor of bigger profits for Big Polluters.

"All this bill would do is give dirty air to America and clean energy jobs to China," said SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA). "The dirty air is obvious and unacceptable. But the hidden problem is that by removing incentives for clean energy we could fall further behind China in the clean energy jobs race." Inslee added that "The United States needs a new Apollo energy plan that will send the signal that clean energy will be valued and supported, that subsidies and protections for dirty, antiquated energy sources are over. But this plan to repeal public health standards in the name of dirty energy would roll back our progress on clean energy, and lock us out of the race in clean energy with China. The American people will reject it."

"This proposal puts the interests of Big Polluters ahead of the health of Americans," said SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). "Trying to ignore the science behind carbon pollution won't make the health threat go away. We need a strong, scientifically based Clean Air Act to protect the health of our families and encourage innovation."

"This draft shows exactly what happens when special interests and industry lobbyists are given special access. We now know exactly what the recently publicized closed-door meeting between Republicans and the dirty energy lobby was all about," said SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). "We need a policy that protects our public health and puts scientific and entrepreneurial advancement before politics, not policy aimed solely at lining the already stuffed pockets of Big Oil."

"Repealing the Clean Air Act would make America more dependent on foreign oil, increase health-threatening pollution that causes diseases like asthma, and damage important sectors of our economy like automobile and clean energy manufacturing," said SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).

"Republicans seem prepared to turn back the clock on decades of progress protecting the environment and the public health," said SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ). "The Clean Air Act is one of the most successful public health laws in American history, saving more than 160,000 lives last year, according to EPA estimates. The law has prevented people from being killed by emissions into the atmosphere. We will oppose efforts to weaken the principle of the Clean Air Act and we will ensure that scientists can work unimpeded to update air pollution safeguards according to the most up-to-date evidence."

"I am outraged that House Republicans are launching this attack on the most basic law that keeps our air safe to breathe," said SEEC member Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). "This effort, undertaken primarily for the benefit of corporate polluters, will effectively turn the Clean Air Act into the Dirty Air Act by gutting one of our nation's most successful public health laws. Since 1970, the Clean Air Act has saved hundreds of thousands of lives and improved the health of Americans in every state. What's more, the economic benefits of the Clean Air Act during this period -- including fewer sick days and hospital visits -- have outweighed its costs by more than 30 to 1. Undermining the Clean Air Act will threaten public health and our economy."

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