Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed funding legislation which includes a harmful measure that moves clean air authority for Arctic offshore drilling from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Interior, but doesn’t include any previous threats that would have removed important environmental safeguards for pollution from boilers, cement plants, power plants and cross-state air pollution.
The Arctic provision, Section 432, would essentially exempt oil and gas drill ships in the remote and fragile Arctic Ocean from Clean Air Act requirements.
The following statement is from Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation at Earthjustice:
“We are grateful that the White House, Senate and House Democratic negotiators were able to get most of the extreme policy provisions the House majority had been pushing all year out of this funding legislation.
“We are particularly pleased that none of the top priority riders being pushed by House GOP leadership made it into the final bill, including riders aimed to block protections from toxic air pollution from boilers, cement kilns and power plants. Another rider that would remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Wyoming also was dropped.
“However we are outraged by the last minute inclusion of an extreme provision that excludes oil companies from complying with Clean Air Act protections in the Arctic. This dangerous measure threatens the health of the Native communities in the Arctic and dumps thousands of tons of global warming pollution into an area that is most susceptible to climate change.
“We also are alarmed that the House-passed payroll tax legislation includes measures that cut rules protecting the public from mercury and other toxic air pollution from boilers and incinerators and another that hastens the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project. Both of those riders must be dropped from any tax bill passed by Congress.”