(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) went to the floor to express her opposition to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) resolution that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting our families and environment. This resolution would roll back critical regulation that would cut vehicle emissions and reduce the demand for oil by 450 million barrels over the life of the program. It would also undermine the Clean Air Act, and use politics to overturn an agency’s scientific determination. The resolution failed 47-53.
“It is especially disappointing to see this on the floor while images of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and devastating the local environment and economy continue to be shown on the nightly news,” said Senator Murray. “The resolution we are debating today will take us back to the failed old policies that have made our country more and more dependent on oil.”
Read the full text of her speech below:
Mr. President, I rise today to express my strong opposition to Senator Murkowski’s resolution that would block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and protecting our families and environment.
This resolution is not based on science, and I feel strongly that it would be a step in the wrong direction for our country.
We know greenhouse gas emissions are dangerous to the environment and to our families’ health.
The science on this issue is clear. And it’s something people in my home state of Washington take very seriously
Climate change would wreak havoc on so much of what our families treasure, such as our forests, coasts, salmon habitats, and farmland.
Mr. President, the debate we should be having today ought to be how to best move forward on this issue, not how to obstruct, stall, and maintain the status quo.
What we should be discussing is how to pass a comprehensive climate and energy bill.
A bill that would, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, support our national security objectives, and unshackle our economy.
That would, tap the creative energy of our nation’s workers, create millions of good, family-wage jobs, and make sure our workers continue leading the way in the 21st century economy.
And Mr. President, I believe my colleague Senator Murkowski agrees with these goals.
I know there are several proposals that have been put on the table on this issue, but I don’t think we can afford to wait.
We can’t simply block the EPA’s endangerment finding and expect our greenhouse gas emission problem to resolve itself.
Now, I know many industries have great concerns about being regulated.
I understand they would prefer a legislative solution. I would too.
But we must keep moving forward to address this critical issue, and blocking the EPA’s endangerment finding is a step backward toward the failed environmental policies of the past.
Mr. President, the law on this issue is clear.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
A lengthy process was conducted to determine this endangerment finding.
And the public as well as the business community have been fully engaged throughout.
In fact, the auto industry also opposes Senator Murkowski’s amendment—because it would put them right back into a state of regulatory uncertainty.
And if we look at vehicles alone, the national clean car standards as proposed under the Clean Air Act will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by 30 percent.
In my home state of Washington, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
And increased fuel efficiency standards will, save families money at the pump, and cut demand for oil by an estimated 450 million barrels over the life of the program.
But all that is threatened by this resolution.
And Mr. President, I have to say—it is especially disappointing to see this on the floor while images of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and devastating the local environment and economy continue to be shown on the nightly news.
The resolution we are debating today will take us back to the failed old policies that have made our country more and more dependent on oil.
And if the big oil companies and their lobbyists get their way on this vote—families will continue spending more on fuel, and it will be a lot harder for our economy to make the shift to cleaner and more efficient sources of energy.
Mr. President, the longer we put off dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, the more it will cost our economy, our environment and our health.
I strongly oppose this resolution that prioritizes big oil companies over our families and small business owners.
And I hope we can work together to find real solutions to this critical problem.