Climate Change: The next battle!
It was a truly sad few weeks last year during which hopes for Senate passage of the climate change and energy bill went from high to dashed. For an inside look at what happened, I recommend the New Yorker's "Inside the Senate's Battle over Climate Change."
Yet, there is hope and it comes in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1963 (and its amendments in 1970 and 1990), EPA regulations have helped clean our air. When the EPA has backed off that responsibility, it's been called out, such as the 2007 Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA which found that the EPA's failure to regulate greenhouse gases was in violation of the Clean Air Act.
On January 2nd, 2011 new greenhouse gas emission regulations went into effect. If they continue to be implemented as planned, they could potentially cut our greenhouse gases enough to fulfill President Obama's promise to cut emissions by 28% by 2020. Yet, the House of Representatives is set to pass legislation to delay or block these regulations. The battle will then go to the Senate.
Politico today gave a breakdown of how the Senators would likely vote on either a two year delay or a complete block on EPA's authority. The count stands at thirty-six in favor of EPA regulations, eight fence-sitters, six leaning towards a two year delay and fifty towards a full pre-emption of authority.
It will be a tough battle in the coming year and it will take a lot of effort to ensure that Senators understand the critical issues at stake and vote in favor of this important regulation and protecting our planet. You can take action by contacting your representative and telling them to defend the Clean Air Act.