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To Twit Lisa: It isn’t the “Murky Air Act”!

January 13th, 2010 · No Comments

Senator Lisa Murkowski has been conniving with fossil-fuel lobbyists for a long time, seeking out paths to strip the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Alaska has been called the poster state for global warming. Winter temperatures have already risen 6 degrees. Sea ice that protects coastal villages from winter storms forms a week later than it used to. Forests are under siege from wildfires and insects. Melting permafrost is shifting foundations of homes and drying up lakes. And the state’s symbol, the polar bear, is seeing its habitat literally vanish from under its feet.

Which is why it’s so unbelievable that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) would be leading an effort to block limits on global warming pollution

Murkowski’s most recent maneuver has been the introduction of an amendment, which the Senate leadership authorized for introduction on the floor to a basically unrelated bill, to put a one-year moratorium on the EPA’s CAA regulatory authority using a justification that this would give Congress time to legislate more deliberately without the ‘threat’ of the EPA actually enforcing laws that Congress has passed, funded for years, and which the courts have supported EPA authority (even in the face of determine Bush-Cheney Administration efforts to act counter to the law). Oh, by the way, fossil-fuel industry lobbyists, revolving back out of Bush-Cheney Administration positions, wrote the legislative language which Murkowski’s staff dutifully copied and the Senator so dutifully introduced on their behalf.

Vice President Al Gore sent out a message, via RePower America, highlighting the seriousness of this effort.

It’s an outrage. 2010 should start in a way that reflects our movement’s amazing accomplishments from last year — moving the ball forward to passage of comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. Instead, our elected leaders are proposing policies that would set us back decades and let the worst polluters completely off the hook.

Despite the chorus of alarm bells sounding the need to address the climate crisis and stop polluting the air our families breathe and the water we drink, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and her allies are attacking the Clean Air Act — for the second time in six months.

In 2010, our movement to solve the climate crisis will face its biggest test yet — passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. But if Senator Murkowski‘s amendment passes, some in Congress will use it as an excuse to keep stalling — and the long overdue promise of progress toward a 21st century clean energy economy will be lost.

The Vice President called on people to contact their Senators, calling for defense of the Clean Air Act.  My note to my Senators:

The Clean Air Act has been one of the most successful legislative achievements in protecting our health and our environment. I remember days where I could barely see across an Appalachia valley due to smog. The vistas are now much better.  And, the CAA has successfully improved the health of Americans by reducing the risks of smog and other pollutants.

Excessive human CO2 emissions are perhaps the most serious threat to the future strength, security, and prosperity of America and Americans.  Scientific research conclusively supports this conclusion. The Supreme Court, a conservative Supreme Court, has determined that the EPA is required to act on CO2 under the CAA.  I urge you to support strengthening the CAA and to stand, firmly, in defense of the EPA’s ability to begin the control of harmful carbon pollution under CAA guidelines.

As part of the effort to highlight Murkowski’s effort to strip authorities from one of the nation’s most cost-effective laws protecting the nation’s health, message after message has been sent to Senator Murkowski via Twitter calling out her efforts to foster increased pollution and undermine our national ability to control our destiny outside the control of polluter-friendly financial interests. Some recent comments to Twit Lisa:

  • Only thing that is “totally bogus” is @LisaMurkowski’s questionable relationship with coal lobbyists (PolluterWatch)
  • Don’t let @lisamurkowski put our natural world in danger. Support the EPA: #cleanair (Ed Russell)
  • I just told my Senators to vote no on the @LisaMurkowski dirty air act. Join me: (A Siegel and hundreds of others …)

There are many other groups and organizations mounting up efforts to bring visibility and pressure on this. For example, MoveOn

A new sneak attack in the Senate could block much of the progress President Obama’s made on global warming and force him to adopt President Bush’s climate policy. … an oil-state Republican senator has arranged a vote next week to block the Clean Air Act–and we could lose. That would be a crippling blow to progress on climate and clean energy. We can’t let that happen.

And  Greenpeace

We can’t let polluting industries lock us in to several more years of dirty fossil fuels. We need to be moving forward with strong policies to stop global warming and kickstart an energy revolution. Write to your Senator now and urge them to vote against Murkowski’s big polluter amendment.

It seems somewhat odd that the Senate leadership allowed this amendment to move forward as

All of the Members of the Democratic Caucus on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have joined together to oppose a proposal by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) global warming endangerment finding.

UPDATE:  There are calls on Senator Murkowski to return the donations from the clients of the energy lobbyists who wrote the legislation.  As per Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,

We will never know whether the $50,000 contributed to Sen. Murkowski’s campaign by two of Jeff Holmstead’s energy clients is the sole reason she allowed him to help craft legislation, but surely, the money helped smooth the way. This is the sort of pay-to-play politics that makes Americans so suspicious of our elected leaders.

See, also, Polluter’s Watch’s call for a Senate ethics investigation on this matter.

And, a recent Twitter item also related to Twit Lisa:

Polluters work with Lisa “fiddle while Nome burns” Murkowski on amendment to thwart EPA GHG regu… (Enviroknow)

NOTE: A reminder:

twit (twt)

tr.v. twit·ted, twit·ting, twits
To taunt, ridicule, or tease, especially for embarrassing mistakes or faults.

1. The act or an instance of twitting.
2. A reproach, gibe, or taunt.
3. Slang A foolishly annoying person.
Now, one can read and use this in a number of ways.  For example, as per To Twit Claire, the term can appropriately be used as a reproach (although some might call it a taunt), in that case to some of Senator’s Claire McCaskill’s “twitting” habits. Please also see To be Claire for a discussion of an alternative legislation approach that Senator McCaskill could follow re energy and climate change legislation.
See also:

The relevant definitional elements might differ between Claire and Lisa.

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Tags: Al Gore · carbon dioxide · climate change · Congress · emissions · Energy · Global Warming