Senators Evan Bayh (D) and Richard Lugar (R) have both have repeatedly reaffirmed their belief in the science of global warming. It was therefore a great disappointment that they both voted for the Murkowski amendment, which would have voided a rigorous, science-based “endangerment finding” related to the link between global warming and public health. The Murkowski Amendment was, fortunately, defeated on a vote of 53-47. The most tangible benefit for the American people of the Murkowski Amendment defeat is that the U.S. EPA will be able to press ahead in significantly raising clean car standards – the result of extensive negotiations between the auto industry, policymakers and environmental policy groups — which will save billions of gallons in oil consumption . The preservation of EPA’s authority to control greenhouse gas emissions also provides a needed back-up measure if the U.S. Congress does not act on controlling greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
It is certainly fair for members of Congress to have issue with trying to tackle greenhouse gas emissions through the EPA vs. the U.S. Congress. Bayh and Lugar have both made it clear that they favor the latter approach, and Sen. Lugar has gone so far as to introduce a comprehensive legislative plan — “the Lugar Practical Energy and Climate Plan“. But for both Hoosier Senators to vote for a resolution that dealt more with the science of the issue than the policy of the issue was not the best decision; it sends the wrong signal to Hoosier elected officials – state and federal – who greatly need to get on board in acknowledging the consensus around climate science among America’s top scientific academies, and to finding Indiana solutions to tackling greenhouse gas emissions.