Action Alert: Protect the Clean Air Act

Washington An Action Alert from the Presbyterian Washington Office:

In 2008, the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted "The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming," in which the church not only re-affirmed its belief that climate change is actually happening, but also called for "comprehensive, mandatory, and aggressive emission reductions that aim to limit the increase in Earth's temperature to 2 degrees Celsius or less from pre-industrial levels."
The U.S. has yet to take this type of action, though it is moving in the right direction with recent international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Absent progress on this issue from Congress, many have turned to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) power under the Clean Air Act, as a tool to regulate greenhouse gasses to meet our international commitments and moral obligation to creation and neighbor.
In late 2009, the EPA officially found that the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change endanger public health.  Now, the EPA is moving ahead with its legally mandated duty under the Clean Air Act to monitor and regulate emissions.  The Clean Air Act has been a cornerstone of American environmental policy for decades, enabling the EPA to improve air quality, enforce standards for cleaner cars, and fight acid rain.
And yet, some members of Congress are trying to stop the EPA from enforcing pollution limits on climate change gasses.  Senator Murkowski (AK) is spearheading an effort in the Senate to undermine the science of climate change and deny the Environmental Protection Agency the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions based on its recent finding that greenhouse gas emissions are dangerous to human health. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the right to review the work of Executive-branch agencies and Senator Murkowski has secured 40 co-sponsors on her resolution, which will only need 51 votes to pass the Senate.  Minority leaders in the House are announcing an identical measure today.  The House resolution has 82 co-sponsors.
Rather than undermine the EPA, Congress should focus on passing climate and energy legislation that protects our environment, stimulates our economy, and increases global security. As champions of comprehensive climate legislation, the U.S. must avoid limiting its ability to tackle the environmental and public health threat of climate change.
We Need your Help
Call your members of Congress and ask them to vote "no" on Senator Murkowski's Congressional Review Act resolution and its corresponding measure on the House side. Members of Congress are hearing from the coal industry and other corporations who would like them to support this resolution but they need to hear from their constituents that protecting creation from climate change is your concern.
Visit the Presbyterian Washington Office's website to send a message to your Senators today!
General Assembly Policy:
The 218th General Assembly (2008) approved "The Power to Change: U.S. Climate and Energy Policy."  In this statement "the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) support[ed] comprehensive, mandatory, and aggressive emission reductions that aim to limit the increase in Earth's temperature to 2 degrees Celsius or less from pre-industrial levels. Legislation should focus on the short-term goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050." (Minutes, 2008, p. 936)

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