Bipartisan Revolt against EPA's Proposed Warming Regs

Commentary by H. Sterling Burnett

Source: Environment & Climate News

Bipartisan groups of legislators in both the U.S. House and Senate are attempting to pass legislation to halt the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed greenhouse gas regulations.

House Dems Lead Revolt
In the House, Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D- MN), Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), are sponsoring a bill to block EPA from regulating greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act. The representatives fear EPA regulations would harm the economy, and they argue Congress alone should determine whether to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

"I have no confidence that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act without doing serious damage to our economy. . . . Congress should be making these types of decisions, not unelected bureaucrats at the EPA," Peterson said in a press statement. 

Peterson continued, "The Clean Air Act was not meant for this. It was meant to clean up the air, to get lead out of the air. It was not meant to fight global warming."

Support for Regs Eroding
Peterson and Skelton, but not Emerson, voted for a House bill that would regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Peterson has since stated he would not support the bill if it comes back to the House out of conference committee with the Senate, while Skelton has argued Congress should move on with a scaled down energy-only bill.

Other house members have launched their own efforts to halt the EPA regulations. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D- ND) has introduced a bill to strip EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions unless it receives explicit authority to do so by Congress.

Murkowski Leads Senate Action
The idea of halting the EPA's greenhouse gas regulations was first broached in the Senate when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) led a bipartisan group of Senators pledging to introduce a disapproval resolution as soon as the Senate calendar and the Senate leadership allow.

Murkowski's resolution, which has 35 Republicans and 3 Democrats as cosponsors, would state EPA was not justified in determining greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. Absent such an endangerment finding, EPA has no authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., (Sterling.Burnett@ncpa.org) is a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.