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Liberal, enviro, health groups urge Senate to reject Murkowski amendment

A coalition of environmental, public health and liberal advocacy groups is urging senators to oppose an amendment from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that seeks to curtail U.S. EPA's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases.

In a letter sent to senators last week, 37 groups asked lawmakers to vote against an amendment from Murkowski that would limit the agency's regulatory power. Murkowski may offer such an amendment as soon as next week when the Senate considers legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling.

"This attack on the Clean Air Act would put public health at risk and jeopardize long-overdue action to hold the biggest polluters accountable, reduce America's oil dependence, and jump-start a vibrant clean energy economy," says the letter from groups including the Union of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, MoveOn.org and others.

It remains unclear exactly what Murkowski's amendment would entail or whether she will offer one at all. "We are still considering the best path forward," said spokesman Robert Dillon. That could mean an amendment to the debt limit or a formal resolution to block EPA climate regulations, he said, "but she is going to do one of the above, because this is a serious issue."

Murkowski has consistently argued that EPA climate regulations will have dire economic consequences.

Rather than block EPA rules, the advocacy groups said, "Congress should move quickly to enact the comprehensive energy and climate legislation the country needs to build a clean energy economy, create jobs, and protect the environment."

Dillon said advocacy groups are increasing pressure to defeat Murkowski's amendment because they fear that the senator will be able to garner bipartisan support for her effort. "The full-court press to oppose it reflects a fear that this is going to be a tough vote," he said.

Click here to read the letter.

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