Over the past few years President Obama passed key pieces of legislation to begin to combat climate change, to reduce dangerous toxins in our air from industry and vehicles and to protect fresh water sources in order to begin to counter pollution-related illnesses, death and diseases, reduce health care costs and begin to face the numerous economic, environmental and social consequences of pollution and climate change on multiple industries and food and water supplies. Despite a disproportionate amount of climate deniers in Congress and the executive branch, only 16% of Americans believe climate change is not real. 67% of Americans actually support Obama’s Clean Power plan.
However, over 2/3 of Congress is made up of fossil-fuel funded climate deniers. Therefore over the past few decades environmental legislation has turned more and more into a partisan issue. That’s why last week the U.S. House of Representatives took the unprecedented and radical step of using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to strip away protections for clean air, clean water, health and safety that President Obama had put in place in the last months of his presidency, including limits on methane pollution from fossil fuel production and industry and clean water protection from the heavily polluting coal industry. This week, the Senate is looking to do the same.
The 1996 Congressional Review Act allows the House and Senate to nullify any “recently finalized” federal regulation by a simple majority vote in both chambers — so long as the president agrees. That can include more than 50 major regulations Obama passed after mid-June 2016 (Vox). The two pieces of environmental legislation GOP congressmen are attempting to unravel are:
- The Stream Protection Rule for Coal Mining – which sharply restrict coal-mining companies from dumping debris and waste into nearby waterways and require companies to restore streams.
- The Methane Waste Rule – which would require oil and gas companies to reduce methane leaks from operations on federal and tribal lands by capturing it instead of just flaring it or letting it waft into the air. Methane is a dangerous and extremely potent greenhouse gas.
Using the CRA to dismantle clean air and clean water standards would not only do away with these important protections, but would also prevent similar protections from being passed—indefinitely.
CALL TO ACTION
- Call on our Senators to ask them NOT to use the Congressional Reform Act to strip away valuable protections for our air, water, health and safety.
Sen Orrin Hatch’s offices:
- Washington D.C. (202) 224-5251
- Salt Lake City (801) 524-4380
- Cedar City (435) 586-8435
- Ogden: (801) 625-5672
- Provo: (801) 375-7881
- St. George (435) 634-1795
Sen. Mike Lee’s offices:
- Washington D.C.: (202) 224-5444
- Ogden: tel: (801) 392-9633
- Salt Lake City: tel: (801) 524-5933
- St. George: tel: (435) 628-5514