WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time Congress passed major environmental laws, acid rain was destroying lakes and forests, polluted rivers were on fire and smog was choking people in some cities.
The fallout from global warming, while subtle now, could eventually be even more dire. That prospect has Democrats pushing legislation that rivals in scope the nation’s landmark anti-pollution laws.
Lawmakers this coming week begin hearings on an energy and global-warming bill that could revolutionize how the country produces and uses energy. It also could reduce, for the first time, the pollution responsible for heating up the planet.
If Congress balks, the Obama administration has signaled a willingness to use decades-old clean-air laws to impose tough new regulations for motor vehicles and many industrial plants to limit their release of climate-changing pollution.