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MI Conservationists Challenge Upton on Climate Regs

January 12, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Conservationists are indicating some concern about the new chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Congressman Fred Upton, from southwest Michigan, raised the ire of the environmental community after suggesting that some regulations being considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be overturned. Natural Resources Defense Council Climate Campaign Director, Pete Altman, says Upton has been a centrist on environmental issues – but has recently changed his approach.

"He's now coming out against a number of efforts by the EPA to update the Clean Air Act and improve the safeguards that protect our health from air pollution."

Rep. Upton calls the EPA's plans to deal with the effects of global warming pollution an "unconstitutional power grab" that will "kill millions of jobs." But Altman sees improving health conditions and creating jobs as interrelated.

"On one hand, we need to reduce the pollution that is such a big problem for public health; and we need to be able to encourage the development of the clean energy sectors, that will put people to work as well as cleaning up our air."

Altman says Upton should consider public opinion polls, which he says show over 80 percent of Americans - across the political spectrum - believe the EPA's scientists and experts should be making decisions about safeguarding public health from pollution, rather than Congress.

Amy Miller/Lori Abbott, Public News Service - MI