A resolution to block the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases failed in the senate today 47-53. Six Democrats including, you guessed it, Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln voted for the resolution that would have made it impossible for the EPA to regulate gases the agency considers a danger to public health. Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Jay Rockefeller and Mary Landrieu also voted for the resolution. Nao Ueda, communications director for the Arkansas Clean Energy Works Coalition, had this to say:
We are delighted that the Murkowski Resolution failed to pass the Senate. We, however, are extremely disappointed that both senators from Arkansas voted to support the resolution. The resolution would have had terrible environmental and economic repercussions for this country. The impact of greenhouse gases on the environment is clear. If successful, the Murkowski Resolution would have undone the historic agreement reached between the Obama administration and automakers in 2009 to make American vehicles more fuel efficient. Automakers were hit hard by the recent recession, and it is cruel to introduce to them new vehicle efficiency standards only to roll them back a year later. Most importantly, the Murkowski Resolution would have cost Arkansas consumers $12 million at the pump. We applaud 53 courageous senators who sided with American people, but we are saddened that Arkansas senators were not among them.
The vote was probably a smart, albeit misguided, one for Pryor. President Obama has said he would not sign the bill into law and by the time the senator comes up for re-election everyone will have forgotten about this. Plus, he gets to tell the Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, etc. that he voted with them.
UPDATE: Good column by Joe Conason on how Lincoln's vote was a slap in the face to Bill Clinton, an advocate of better environmental policiies, who helped her immensely in her re-election campaign.
Widely regarded as a blatant and mindless political attack on science, the Murkowski-Lincoln resolution is also a rebuke to Clinton and everyone who shares his view that climate change is the most important challenge facing the world in this century. The former president has repeatedly urged Senate Democrats to pass serious cap-and-trade or carbon tax legislation by whatever means necessary, including the now-controversial method of reconciliation. He often speaks in apocalyptic terms on the topic, as he did last year when he said that "Congress must pass, and the president must sign, legislation that puts a price on carbon and establishes a cap and trade system ... properly pricing something that is otherwise going to destroy the planet."
Michael Tomasky also sees a big f*** you to progressives in Lincoln's vote for more pollution.