|Peter Bahouth, Executive Director
May 2, 2011
Dirty Decision Makers Ignoring Clean Solutions
Last Thursday, in an attempt to save Americans’ money and reduce handouts to Big Oil, House Democrats tried to pass a motion that would allow a vote on a provision to end certain subsidies to oil companies. Unfortunately, it was defeated 241-171 with only seven Democrats joining with Republicans to oppose the measure. Notably, members that voted to continue the subsidies received more than $8.7 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests in 2010. Also, of the 18 U.S. House members that received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the industry in 2010, 16 voted to block debate.
Later that day and only weeks after the one-year mark of the B.P. Gulf Coast oil disaster, the House Republicans passed legislation that that would require the U.S. government to offer up offshore areas for oil and gas leasing. However, experts say more U.S. oil drilling will not lower gas prices. “It’s not going to change the price of oil overnight, and it’s probably not going to have a huge impact on the price of oil ever,” Mike Lynch of Strategic Energy and Economic Research, Inc. said in reference to not just those leases, but to expanding all U.S. drilling. To read more click here.
The same day, Environment America released their “Summer Gas Prices: Beating the Heath with Clean Cars” report. The analysis found that if our cars and trucks today met a 60 mpg standard, Americans would save $67 billion at the gas pump and cut gasoline consumption by 17 billion gallons this summer. The average American family would save $513 in just three months. While families in all 50 states would experience similar savings, those in California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York would see the largest overall consumer savings, and the largest reductions in gasoline consumption. Proof again, that pain from the gas pump can be alleviated by cleaner and smarter means.
Last Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency launched its second National Building Competition “Battle of the Buildings”. This year 245 entries such as schools, museums, and other commercial buildings will participate to see who can reduce the most energy usage. Last year just 14 buildings reduced their energy use by 44 million kBtus, prevented more than the equivalent of 5,000 metric tons of carbon pollution, and saved more than $950,000 in a single year. Currently, commercial buildings account for nearly 18% of our greenhouse gas emissions and so the potential for great savings is meritorious.
Tuesday, Physicians for Social Responsibility released their report, “The Clean Air Act: A Proven Tool for Healthy Air.” This review finds that the Clean Air Act is working. Air emission levels for six of the most common air pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, and particulates) have been steadily declining and are expected to continue to decline with additional pollution prevention actions. However, the report identifies how pollution continues to threaten the health of Americans, and cautions that efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act will be at the expense of the health of vulnerable populations. Find out about the latest on threats to the Clean Air Act in USCAN’s weekly Clean Air Digest
Marie Risalvato, Communications