Support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Enforcing the Clean Air Act
During January, various politicians introduced bills in the U.S. House and Senate that would limit, delay or permanently prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing the Clean Air Act, throttling its ability to address climate change. At the moment there is one bill in the Senate and four bills in the House.
On Friday February 18, 2011, the House voted 249 to 177 to add a Clean Air Act regulation ban to the package of budget cuts they are formulating for a stop-gap spending bill to keep the government running through September 30. Members of the House also have introduced a variety of measures that would cut or eliminate programs to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy and other measures designed to begin to halt global warming. The ultimate fate of these measures will depend on how the Senate votes on its version of a spending bill and how the two versions get reconciled in conference. Legislators have a March 4 deadline, so the pressure is on.
The specific pieces of stand-alone legislation are the following:
- H.R. 97, "Free Industry Act." It currently has 113 co-sponsors. This amends the language of the Clean Air Act to remove all references to greenhouse gases and states that nothing in the Clean Air Act authorizes or requires the regulation of climate change/global warming.
- H.R. 153, "Ensuring Affordable Energy Act." It currently has 42 co-sponsors. This prohibits the administrator of the EPA from funding any type of "cap and trade" program to address climate change or enforcing any regulations related to greenhouse gas emissions that go into effect on or after January 1, 2011.
- H.R. 199, "Protect America’s Energy and Manufacturing Jobs Act of 2011." It currently has three co-sponsors. This delays for two years the EPA’s ability to take action under the Clean Air Act to regulate two of the major greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane).
- S. 228, "A bill to pre-empt regulation of, action relating to, or consideration of greenhouse gases under federal and common law on enactment of a federal policy to mitigate climate change." It currently has 10 co-sponsors. (Official text not yet available.)
What this means
In the absence of any national legislation to cut the emission of greenhouse gases, which greatly contribute to dangerous levels of climate change, the only tool we have at hand to begin to do this is the Clean Air Act. It is vital that we allow the EPA to do its work and begin to make the transition to cleaner energy now. The United States is behind many nations in Europe in becoming more energy efficient and switching to cleaner and renewable sources of energy. We have delayed making these changes for decades. It is past time that we begin. The EPA, under court guidance, has developed a sophisticated plan for phasing in regulations, and this plan needs to stand.
Why we are called to act
As faithful Christians, United Methodist Women heed God’s call to care for Creation. We rejoice in its beauty and sacredness. We understand Creation is a gift that we are to share with all and reverently and faithfully tend.
As faithful United Methodists, United Methodist Women are guided by the church’s Social Principles and various United Methodist General Conference Resolutions (1002—U.S. Energy Policy and United Methodist Responsibility, 1023—Environmental Justice for a Sustainable Future, 1026—Environmental Stewardship, and 1031—Resolution on Global Warming). These remind us of our moral responsibility to be strong advocates for U.S. policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. See The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church 2008.
As women in mission with women, children and youth in the United States and around the world, we see the devastating impact that climate change is having now on their homes, health, livelihoods and educational attainment, and we see what this bodes for their futures. We are moved to stand in solidarity with them. This requires us to do more than just change a few light bulbs. We must work to bring about new energy and economic policies in the United States.
Write, call or e-mail your representatives and senators today.
As a person of faith, I stand in support of God’s Creation and the Environmental Protection Agency’s actions to protect it. Please oppose any attempts to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions or other pollutants such as mercury, acid rain pollutants, ozone and particulates. Please support sufficient funding so that the EPA can do its job in addressing climate change.
We have a moral responsibility as a nation to begin to address global warming. I was pleased to learn about EPA’s limits on carbon dioxide that took effect on January 2. These regulations will protect human health, reduce health care costs, stimulate the transition to a more sustainable economy and help curb global warming. These regulations are important to steer our country toward an economically stronger future that does not depend on fossil fuels. They are needed if our country is to do its part to create a hopeful future for all God’s children.