Environmentalists, however, deplored passage of what they call the "Dirty Air Act." “Today House members had a choice: stand up for the health of our children, elderly citizens and other vulnerable populations, or do the bidding of America’s biggest polluters,” said Nathan Willcox, program director for Environment America’s federal global warming program. "We’re thankful that the Senate made it clear yesterday that this dangerous attack on the nation’s health and environment is dead on arrival.”
The fight is likely to continue through different avenues. Several policy "riders" that aim to accomplish the same ends as the House's Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 and the failed Senate amendments are now attached to the continuing resolution bill to fund the government.
Environmentalists worry that the Obama administration, which is eager to avert a government shutdown, might compromise on one or more of the riders to the spending bill and permit EPA authority to be weakened. Among those riders are measures to block EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions and to repeal the agency's finding that such gases pose a global warming threat to human health and welfare.
Those riders, as much as money differences, appear to be at the center of the budget impasse. (Many riders are about non-EPA issues, such as NPR funding and Planned Parenthood.) Speaker Boehner Thursday morning said the government funding fight isn't just about money, but also about "common-sense policy restrictions on how taxpayer dollars are spent."