Murkowski anti-EPA resolution comes up short in Senate vote

Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet voted with 51 of their colleagues Thursday to defeat Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Congressional Review Act resolution seeking to block U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of carbon dioxide emissions as a form of pollution.

Udall and Bennet, both Democrats, were part of a 53-47 rejection of Murkowski’s resolution, which environmental groups in Colorado claimed would have cost state residents $18 million at the gas pumps in 2016 by upping oil dependence to the tune of 7 million gallons a year.

Specifically, the resolution would have blocked new EPA clean car standards requiring 2012-16 cars and light trucks use less oil.

“The Gulf disaster is a painful reminder that we must move our country off of oil,” Environment Colorado field director Gavin Clark said in a release. “We’re thankful that today Sens. Udall and Benner voted against this Washington bailout to big oil and other polluters. We urge [Udall and Bennet] to now help pass a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill through the Senate this year.”

The resolution had the backing of Republicans and some coal-country Democrats like Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Colorado Republicans predictably slammed the EPA and praised Murkowski’s efforts.

“We’re not talking about a knee jerk reaction to an oil spill in the Gulf,” state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said in a release. “We’re talking about the EPA taking authority they don’t have and declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant, which is absurd.”

A majority of scientists have concluded carbon dioxide is one of the key greenhouse gases contributing to global climate change. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide as a form of air pollution.

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