Bid to weaken Clean Air Act fails

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Bid to weaken Clean Air Act fails

The Columbus Dispatch – In a victory for environmentalists today, the Senate rejected a measure backed by Sen. George V. Voinovich that would have prevented the federal government from imposing greenhouse gas regulations on Ohio and other states without congressional consent.

By a vote of 53-47, the Senate turned back a resolution introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would have rendered meaningless a 2007 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that the 1970 Clean Air Act permits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose new rules to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas.

In many ways, the vote was more of a symbolic protest by Voinovich and other Senate Republicans who fear that the EPA will adopt tough rules that will hurt industry and raise utility rates for customers. In Ohio, where 85 percent of customers and industry get their electrical power from coal-fired power plants, new greenhouse gas rules could have a major impact.

The resolution divided Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Despite being under intense pressure from Ohio businesses to back the resolution, Brown said he voted against it because it would have disapproved the EPA's finding in 2009 that greenhouse gases can affect public health.

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