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For Immediate Release, January 31, 2011

Contact:  Kassie Siegel,, (760) 366-2232 x 302

Wyoming Senator Moves to Gut Long List of Environmental Protections

Bill Would Halt Crucial Work to Address Global Warming

WASHINGTON— Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill today aimed at repealing virtually any federal protections against the buildup of dangerous carbon pollution. The bill is the first of many expected congressional attacks on the Clean Air Act, which for decades has dramatically reduced dangerous pollutants like mercury and lead, prevented millions of illnesses such as asthma and cancer, and saved thousands of lives.

“Senator Barrasso and his allies want big polluters to have free rein to continue dumping unlimited amounts of dangerous carbon pollution into our air, threatening our health and perilously warming the planet,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “This bill would sacrifice the health and safety of all Americans to the profit and convenience of the nation’s biggest polluters.”

The bill would exempt greenhouse gases from regulation under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and other bedrock environmental laws.

The United States has some of the strongest, most cost-effective and most successful environmental protections in the world, which have made our air and water cleaner, our ecosystems healthier, and can reduce greenhouse pollution today. Chief among these is the Clean Air Act, with tried-and-true air-pollution reduction programs that can work together to reduce atmospheric carbon to the level scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst effects of global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency is already beginning to use the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from cars and trucks, power plants, refineries and other smokestack polluters.

“The EPA is rightly acting on order of the U.S. Supreme Court, which said in 2007 that greenhouse gases are pollutants,” Siegel said. “The Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and other laws are the safety net that protect our children’s future. Senator Barrasso must not be allowed to shred that safety net just to please the country’s largest polluters.”

Since the Clean Air Act’s beginnings in the 1960s, there have always been naysayers who predict economic doom and gloom with each effort to protect the public from harmful pollutants. In fact, over the past 40 years the Act has held polluters accountable, cleaned our air and created benefits valued at $22.2 trillion — 42 times greater than the estimated costs of its regulations. Updated Clean Air Act standards will help spur innovation and create jobs.  

To learn more, read the Center’s fact sheet about the Clean Air Act and frequently asked questions about how the national pollution cap provision of the Act can be used to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

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