Perhaps the least surprising bit of breaking news to come out so far this week: Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski actually worked with lobbyists from some of the worst polluters in the US while drafting her amendment to strip the EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Jeffrey R. Holmstead and Roger R. Martella Jr. were both top officials in the Bush Administration’s EPA when the agency refused to do anything to regulate greenhouse gases even after a 2007 Supreme Court ruling found they were obligated to do so under the Clean Air Act. Now both men are employed as lobbyists for the coal, oil, and utility industries, and apparently had a strong hand in drafting the Murkowski amendment.
It was pretty obvious that Murkowski was taking her cues from polluters. But I didn’t think she was actually sitting down and letting them write our laws word for word. Seems like that is some kind of ethics violation, wouldn’t you think? So did my colleagues at Greenpeace, who sent a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer, chair of the ethics panel, requesting “an inquiry from the Senate Committee on Ethics into the depth of the relationship between Senator Murkowski’s staff and these two lobbyists.”
Now it turns out that Big Ag is joining the likes of Big Coal and Big Oil and getting in on the game as well.
The largest U.S. farm group called on Congress on Tuesday to prevent the government from regulating greenhouse gases if lawmakers kill climate change legislation.
The 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation also underlined its firm opposition to legislation to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for boosting global temperatures.
We have plenty of reason to be concerned about these latest developments in the fight to preserve the Clean Air Act: We’re up against industries with deep, deep pockets, which is why they’re able to buy themselves so much influence on Capitol Hill. But folks like Senator Murkowski were not elected to represent polluting industries. They were elected to represent us.
The revelations about how her amendment was written will probably delay its introduction, which was due to come out next week. Nonetheless, now more than ever, we all need to be reminding our Senators who they actually represent. Start by asking yours to vote no on the Murkowski amendment.