On June 28th, Environmental Defense hailed a vote by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee to
regulate power plant emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) as well as conventional pollutants – mercury, sulfur dioxide
(SO2) and nitrous oxide (NOx).
"For the first time we now have legislation passed by a Senate committee that cuts and caps emissions of carbon
dioxide – a leading contributor to global warming. This is truly a watershed moment," said Environmental Defense
senior attorney Joseph Goffman.
On a vote of 10 to 8, senate bill S.556 was given the green light by members of the Senate EPW committee. The
legislation, authored by Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT), could be considered by the full U.S. Senate later this year. But the
bill also faces opposition from those who do not want to see Congress enact mandatory restrictions on the amount
of CO2 that can be released by power plants into the atmosphere
"Those who are opposed to mandatory limits on CO2 emissions as part of any multi-pollutant package are simply
choosing to bury their heads in the sand. As the federal government's own report on climate change recently noted,
the Earth's atmosphere is becoming warmer and that is going to affect human health and the environment," Goffman
said. "The longer we wait to act on reducing levels of CO2, the higher the cost will be both in real dollars and in
quality of life. That is why it is urgent to find a path to enacting legislation – not in five years, but in the next year –
that actually will deliver the reductions."
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