Motion in Senate Seeks to Stop EPA from Regulating GHG Emissions
Three Senate Democrats Join Effort to Block EPA Carbon Rules
By Simon Lomax
January 21, 2010
Three Senate Democrats today joined a Republican effort to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under existing law.
Democrats Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska said they co-sponsored a motion that seeks to overturn the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and should be regulated. The agency has proposed regulations for new cars, power plants, oil refineries and factories that could begin in March.
“This command-and-control approach is our worst option for reducing the emissions blamed for climate change,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, who wrote the measure. “Congress must be given time to develop an appropriate and more responsible solution.”
Murkowski decided today to seek a disapproval motion of the EPA’s Dec. 7 finding instead of trying to block the agency’s regulations by amending legislation now before the Senate. To pass the Senate, the disapproval motion would require 51 votes, fewer than the 60 required to amend legislation being debated this week to raise the U.S. government’s debt ceiling.
Lincoln said she will support Murkowski’s disapproval motion to block “heavy-handed EPA regulation.”
“I am very concerned about the burden that EPA regulation of carbon emissions could put on our economy,” Lincoln said in an e-mail.
Murkowski didn’t say how soon she would bring the motion to the Senate floor. Her decision will delay a vote on whether the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide from cars, power plants, oil refineries and factories “possibly until March,” Whitney Stanco, an analyst in Washington for Concept Capital, said in a report today.
Murkowski could ask for a vote on the disapproval resolution “at any time,” Robert Dillon, a spokesman for the Alaska Republican, said in a telephone interview.
The EPA’s authority stems from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling on the scope of the Clean Air Act. Legislation to limit that authority and set up a cap-and-trade market for carbon dioxide permits is stalled in the Senate.