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WATCH: Obama Admits I Was the Deciding Vote in 2005 Against Bill To Reduce Mercury Emissions by 70 percent
June 15, 2012

***UPDATED Friday, June 15, 2012 10:45pm ET*** - Full Transcript of Video and Exchange Included at the Bottom of the Post - The National Wildlife Federation contacted us Friday night about "twisting" their words. As a result, we have posted the full exchange at the bottom of the post to show that this is not the case. 

Link to the Full Video of the Hearing http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Choose&Hearing_id=9e3ece6e-802a-23ad-419e-915184add98c

We will include link to their release when available.  

 

 

Posted by Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov

WATCH: Obama Admits "I Was the Deciding Vote" in 2005 Against Bill To Reduce Mercury Emissions by 70%

Providing the Facts ahead of Senate Vote on Obama War on Coal Next Week

Obama Killed Clean Air Legislation in 2005 "I was the deciding vote"

Learn More about Far Left Environmental Playbook on CRA Vote  

As we look ahead to the vote on Senator Inhofe's resolution on EPA's Utility MACT rule, we can all agree that everyone shares a commitment to improving air quality - but it should be done in a way that does not harm jobs and the economy, or cause electricity prices to skyrocket on every American. One look at this video and it's clear that the effort behind Utility MACT is not about public health - if it were, then-Senator Obama and the Democrats would have voted for a 70% reduction in mercury when Senator Inhofe's Clear Skies bill came up in 2005.  Had they supported Clear Skies, we would already have achieved substantial mercury reductions - instead, they rejected these health benefits in favor of promoting their radical global warming agenda.

What's the difference between Clear Skies and Utility MACT?  Simple: Clear Skies would have reduced emissions dramatically - by 70% - but it would have done so without threatening to kill coal and the millions of jobs that coal sustains.   On the other hand, Utility MACT is specifically designed to kill coal - it makes no effort whatsoever to balance environmental protection and economic growth.

Importantly, the Senate will take this vote on Senator Inhofe's resolution just as world leaders gather in Rio for the Rio + 20 Sustainable Development Conference.  President Obama, who is now busy pretending to be the fossil fuel President to garner votes, will not be attending, but he is sending his green team to negotiate on his behalf. What is this conference really about?  As Fox News reported back in April, "The main goal of the much-touted, Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development...is to make dramatic and enormously expensive changes  in the way that the world does nearly everything-or, as one of the documents puts it, ‘a fundamental shift in the way we think and act.'" Utility MACT is a huge part of this effort to change the way we live - to eliminate affordable energy, which will negatively affect the lives of every American, and spread the wealth around.

By voting for Senator Inhofe's resolution, members of the US Senate can stop this senseless war on coal and affordable energy.  In doing so, they would not prevent EPA from regulating mercury: they would vote to send EPA back to the drawing board to craft a more workable rule; a rule that does not threaten to destroy the millions of jobs that rely on coal, but one that aids utilities in reducing emissions without having to close their doors.

Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

Over the past few weeks the momentum of bipartisan support for Senator Inhofe's resolution has continued to grow: he has picked up the support of numerous Democrats and groups representing business and labor.

Three Senate Democrats, Senators Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson and Joe Manchin have chosen to listen to their constituents and support the measure.  These announcements came just after letters backing the resolution were sent by the Democratic Governor Earl Tomblin of West Virginia, West Virginia Lieutenant Governor Jeffrey Kessler, as well as a group of bipartisan West Virginia legislators.

Last month, 24 state attorneys general, including one quarter of all Democratic state attorneys general, filed suit to overturn Utility MACT because of the devastating effects it will have on jobs and their states' economies; these are Democrats from Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Also notable, 19 House Democrats supported companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

In addition, Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America - one of the biggest labor unions in the country - recently sent a letter to several Senators saying that the union's support for Senator Inhofe's resolution is "based upon our assessment of the threat that the EPA MATS rule poses to United Mine Workers Association members' jobs, the economies of coal field communities, and the future direction of our national energy policy."

Finally, Senator Inhofe has secured the support of the National Federation of Independent Business as well as nearly 80% of the private sector - businesses that are apparently not "doing fine" in the face of EPA's job-killing regulations.

Utility MACT Resolution: Myth vs. Fact

Ahead of the vote, there have been many misconceptions perpetrated about what this resolution to stop Utility MACT would do - so it's time to set the record straight. 

Myth: Utility MACT CRA would stop EPA from regulating mercury

False: The resolution would not prevent EPA from regulating mercury or alter the Clean Air Act in any way.  It would simply send the rule back to EPA to be rewritten under Congressional direction, hopefully in a way in which utilities could actually comply, and one that balances environmental progress with economic growth. 

Myth: Utility MACT is about public health

False: The Utility MACT rule is not about public health - it's about killing coal.  How do we know?   According to EPA's own analysis, Utility MACT will cost $10 billion a year to implement but that $10 billion will yield $6 million in projected benefits.  That's a cost/benefit ratio of 1600 to 1.    

In fact, it is more likely that Utility MACT will harm rather than improve public health, because it will serve as a regressive tax on electricity that will hurt the poor and those on fixed incomes the most.  Unemployment is a well-established risk factor for many illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, stress-related disorders, and decreases in life expectancy.   

Myth: Coal is not being killed by EPA regulations but by the cheaper price of natural gas

False: EPA itself has admitted that the agency deliberately and consciously made the decision to kill coal.  EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding was caught on tape saying, "Lisa Jackson has put forth a very powerful message to the country. Just two days ago, the decision on greenhouse gas performance standard and saying basically gas plants are the performance standard which means if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem."  He also said that the decision by EPA to kill coal was "painful" because "you got to remember that if you go to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and all those places, you have coal communities who depend on coal. And to say that we just think those communities should just go away, we can't do that. But she had to do what the law and policy suggested. And it's painful. It's painful every step of the way."

Even without EPA's admission that the agency is deliberately killing coal, such a myth is based on the dubious assumption that the price of natural gas won't go up - and that natural gas will not be regulated out of existence by the Obama administration's anti-fossil fuel agenda.  While President Obama goes around on the campaign trail pretending to support oil and gas, former Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz told us the truth that EPA's "general philosophy" is to "crucify" and "make examples" of oil and gas companies. This "crucify them" strategy includes an aggressive campaign to shift the authority over hydraulic fracturing from states to the federal government so that it can limit or eventually end the process altogether. EPA has initiated several major studies into fracking's impacts on water, and the agency is not going through with the studies in a transparent way or using the best available science.   In short, if the administration is successful in killing coal, natural gas will be next on the agenda. 

Running for Cover

The momentum for Senator Inhofe's efforts has grown so much that Senators Lamar Alexander (TN) and Mark Pryor (AR) found it necessary to introduce a cover bill for those Senators who need to appear to be reining in the EPA for their constituents back home, but in reality are allowing President Obama to continue to kill coal.  This bill is unlikely ever to get a vote, but that's not the point - the point is just to have something out there that Senators in a tough spot can claim to support.   This alternative is a clear admission that the Obama-EPA's policy is wrong - but it does not fix the problem; it simply puts off the day of execution for six years.

We've seen this before.  When the Upton-Inhofe Energy Tax Prevention Act came to the floor last year - a measure that would have prevented the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act - several Senators offered a number of counter amendments so they could have a cover vote.  They wanted to appear to be reining in an out-of-control EPA for their constituents back home, all while letting President Obama go through with his job-killing regulations. Some chose to vote for the only real solution to the problem - the Energy Tax Prevention Act - and some chose the cover vote, but all in all, 64 Senators went on record that day as wanting to rein in EPA.  The same thing is happening with the Utility MACT vote.

Utility MACT Resolution the Only Real Solution to Ending President Obama's War on Coal

Everyone agrees that the Senate should continue to build on the tremendous environmental progress America has made over the past 40 years. Unfortunately, the Obama administration's regulations continue to fail to strike the balance between growing our economy and improving our environment. Put simply, their agenda is about eliminating oil, gas and coal.

As Senator Inhofe has said to those Senators who are running for cover: the time is now to stop, not just delay, President Obama's war on coal and affordable energy.

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***UPDATED: Transcript of Barrasso-NWF Archambo Exchange

Senator Barrasso.  Okay.  Thank you. Ms. Archambo, Senator Lautenberg just made a comment about the enemy of good and the perfect and some of the things that I talked about a little earlier.  I had mentioned in my opening statement that the Senate had an opportunity to reduce mercury emissions by 70 percent back in 2005.  Would Michigan lakes, sturgeon, sportsmen, families have been better off had those reductions already gone into effect when they had an opportunity to pass that in 2005?

Ms. Archambo.  Absolutely.  I really think that going forward, I understand history is important, but I am looking out in front of where we do we go next and, you know, whether the rule protects children, whether the rule protects middle aged or adults, it is very important that we look going forward because to have a healthy economy we have to have health people and to have our tourism economy in Michigan is, you know, there is top three, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture, and it is very much impacting our sport fishing industry and reducing the mercury in air toxics is going to help our history or our future in tourism and our sports fishing industry.

Senator Barrasso.  Thank you.

Ms. Archambo.  So, reducing them is, no matter how we get there, is, we need to start now.

Senator Barrasso.  All right.  It would have better off if they had done it in 2005?

Ms. Archambo.  Sure.

Senator Barrasso.  Great.     

 

 

 

 





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