Senate Defeats Big Oil Bailout

NWF Victory Should Pave Way for Climate Action

06-10-2010 // Tony Iallonardo
Capitol Building with red flowers

Today the U.S. Senate rejected a resolution introduced by Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski that would have denied the harmful impacts of climate changed and negated the Supreme Court’s historic 2007 decision declaring greenhouse gases air pollutants that can be controlled by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. The vote margin was 47 to 53. NWF and its members strongly opposed the resolution.

Conservation groups dubbed the Murkowski resolution the “Big Oil Bailout” because it would have negated new automobile standards that will reduce the nation’s use of oil by over 1.8 billion barrels and rewarded energy companies by allowing them to continue polluting unabated. A Washington Post poll released today found 71 percent of Americans supported government action to regulation greenhouse gas emissions. The vote was a contest between Big Oil and the broader public supporting climate action. Sixty eight oil industry giants that make up the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association gave Ms. Murkowski their full backing in a June 8 letter.

The vote comes at a decisive time and is viewed as a barometer for action on comprehensive climate and energy action that is expected in the coming weeks in the Senate. In the days leading up to the White House vowed to veto any resolution that came before his desk and Majority Leader Harry Reid urged his caucus to vote against the special interest proposal.

“This vote shows the political tide is turning against Big Oil. Americans understand now more than ever the price we pay when we allow polluters to have their own way, and the wave of outrage has finally reached Congress," said Joseph Mendelson, director of global warming policy at the National Wildlife Federation.

“The 68 oil barons who backed Murkowski’s effort have taken their best shot and lost. Now it’s time for the Senate to take the fight to Big Oil and pass comprehensive energy reform that holds corporations fully accountable for the pollution they dump into our water and the pollution they pump into our air.”