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Senate Showdown Today on Handcuffing EPA

June 10, 2010

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services commissioner Tom Burack has written to Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle urging them to stop Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's attempt to prohibit the EPA from developing rules that regulate the emissions of large polluters such as power plants. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on her amendment today.

Mike Fitzgerald is an administrator in the Air Resources division at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

"This amendment would interrupt EPA's fairly thoughtful and well balanced response, we feel, to the Supreme Court decision, and would leave us with really nothing to deal with greenhouse gas emissions until federal legislation is in place."

Fitzgerald says his office supports federal legislation on climate change, and even without it, it is important that the Clean Air Act remain intact.

Proponents of Murkowski's amendment argue that the rules on cleaning up vehicle emissions and power plants are too expensive.

Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, says the people backing the provision have it backwards.

"It's leaving things the way they are that's not working. It's too expensive; it's costing us jobs; it's killing people with air pollution, and we have to make a change."

If the resolution passes, Van Noppen warns, it will undermine the investments New England states have made in
wind, solar, renewables and energy efficiency. He points out that Murkowski is the Senate's biggest recipient of power company campaign donations.

President Obama has promised to veto Murkoswki's resolution if it passes.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH