More Unions Backing EPA

Source: truthout, Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith  (4/25/11)

"The EPA's GHG regulation is good for American industries and jobs."


At the start of 2011, as energy corporations and the Tea Party launched their assault on the EPA, it seemed public opinion and organized labor might be swept along. Conversely, the public and the labor movement have rallied in support of EPA and regulation. The Wall Street Journal in a March 14 article entitled, EPA Tangles with New Critic: Labor, reported that "several unions" are demanding the EPA "soften new regulations" that "could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy." It cited a letter from a coalition including Mine Workers, Utility Workers, etc., to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson saying that tightening standards on ground-level ozone would "have a significant impact on our states' workers."

The article, however, did note, "not all unions take a dim view of the EPA's moves," citing the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters, which said the EPA's mercury rule could create thousands of pollution-control jobs; in fact, union support for the EPA goes far beyond and is growing.

One day after WSJ's article, a coalition backed by 10 major unions issued a statement supporting "the actions by EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act" and urging Congress to "reject efforts to weaken this authority."

On March 17, the UAW gave a stirring defense of EPA regulation before a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee. Legislative Director Barbara Somson stated, "What our experience shows us is that the EPA's regulation of GHG. . .under the Clean Air Act is good for our industries and good for American jobs."

By large margins, voters of all political parties trust the EPA more than Congress with democrats 77% to 11%, independents 63% to 12% and republicans 48% to 28%, respectively." Voters oppose Sen. Rockefeller's proposal to block EPA regulation of GHGs by exactly two-to-one.

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