Earlier today, Virginia environmentalists, veterans, and other activists held a press conference in Richmond, at which they urged Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb to oppose a wildly misguided piece of legislation by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK, BP, ExxonMobil), what many of us are calling the “Dirty Air Amendment” (or, alternately, the “Big Oil Bailout” bill). For more, see the press release from Environment Virginia after the “flip.”
SENS. WARNER & WEBB URGED TO VOTE “NO” ON SEN. MURKOWSKI’S BIG OIL BAILOUT
New Analysis Shows Murkowski’s Proposal Would Increase Virginia’s Oil Dependence, Cost Virginians Millions
RICHMOND, Va. (June 8, 2010) – As oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico, in what is now one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, Virginia environmentalists, veterans, and other activists held a press conference today to urge Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb to oppose new legislation that would actually help oil companies and other dirty energy producers to operate with fewer restrictions than they have now. This misguided resolution, sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is a bailout for Big Oil and other dirty energy providers at the public’s expense that will gut the Clean Air Act, threaten our health and security, and continue to put us at risk of major disasters like what is happening right now in the Gulf. The event comes just days before the Senate plans to vote on the measure this Thursday, June 10.
“This bill is yet another corporate bailout, but this time for Big Oil and other polluters,” Environment Virginia Advocate JR Tolbert said. “With the oil disaster in the Gulf wreaking havoc on people’s livelihoods and the environment, we need to end America’s dependence on oil, not make the problem worse.”
Murkowski’s Big Oil Bailout would increase Virginia’s oil dependence and give Big Oil millions that belong in Virginians’ pocketbooks. According to a new analysis conducted by Environment Virginia that examined the proposal, it would increase the Commonwealth’s dependence on oil by more than 13 million gallons in 2016 and cost Virginians $34 million at the gas pump in 2016. But the negative influence of this Big Oil Bailout would be even greater over time.
Virginians have drawn a line in the sand asking whose side Senators Warner and Webb are on: Senator Murkowski and her Big Oil allies or the American people?
Senator Murkowski is the #3 recipient in Congress of money from Big Oil and the #2 recipient of money from electric utilities so far this election cycle. Two Washington lobbyists that work for oil-industry lobby groups wrote her resolution.
Virginia residents want comprehensive action on our energy future, not handouts to Big Oil and other dirty energy polluters. New poll results released today by We Can Lead, a project of Ceres and the Clean Economy Network, show that a majority of voters in the state support the comprehensive clean energy and climate proposal unveiled by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman in May, 58-37%. The poll also found that 81% of Virginia voters want the country to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
Virginia participants in the event called on Senators Warner and Webb to side with national security organizations and veterans, the UAW, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, former Republican EPA Administrator Russell Train, American Academy of Pediatrics, thousands of scientists, environmental organizations and governors, attorneys general, and top environmental officials of numerous states in opposing this handout and acting on comprehensive solutions that will put the U.S. back in control of its energy future.
“Dealing with the symptoms of an oil spill through a temporary band-aid approach and a handout to oil companies is not what the American people want or deserve,” Tolbert said. “Senators Warner and Webb should help defeat this proposal and act swiftly to support comprehensive legislation that will lessen the extensive damage caused in the Gulf, cut our oil dependence, and move to a clean energy economy.”