Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sen. Murkowski's Disapproval Resolution On Endangerment Finding

Dec 14: U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), announced her intention to file a disapproval resolution to stop U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. Murkowski’s resolution comes in the wake of the agency’s recent endangerment finding, which she said will result in "damaging new regulations that endanger America’s economy." The Senator's announced disapproval came one day before EPA's endangerment finding was officially published in the Federal Register [74 FR 66495-66546, 12/15/09]. The endangerment finding was announced by EPA on December 7 [See WIMS 12/8/09].

Murkowski said, “I remain committed to reducing emissions through a policy that will protect our environment and strengthen our economy, but EPA’s backdoor climate regulations achieve neither of those goals. EPA regulation must be taken off the table so that we can focus on more responsible approaches to dealing with global climate change.” Murkowski indicated that while the Administration claims the endangerment finding is merely an affirmation of the science behind global climate change, she said "that aspect is just the tip of the iceberg."

She said further, “The EPA administrator’s move has thrown open the door to expensive and intrusive government regulation -- as far from a market-based solution as we can possibly imagine. The endangerment finding is aptly named. It endangers jobs, it endangers economic growth, and it endangers American competitiveness, while setting the stage for backdoor bureaucratic intrusion into the lives of Americans on an unprecedented scale. The EPA has taken these actions despite the fact that Congress is continuing to work on climate legislation. I find that highly counter-productive, especially as our nation struggles to regain its economic footing. The endangerment finding must be stopped so that Congress can pass responsible legislation that is sound on its own merits, and not merely a defense against the threat of damaging regulations.”

Murkowski warned those who believe EPA action will prod Congress to act faster that such a strategy is likely to fail and carry with it unintended consequences. She said, “Make no mistake -- Congress is being threatened in a misguided attempt to move a climate bill forward. But this strategy is highly flawed because it assumes Congress will pass economically damaging legislation in order to stave off economically damaging regulations. That’s a false choice and it should be rejected outright. “This administration should be able to work with this Congress to pass needed, common-sense, and transparent reforms to our energy and environmental policies. Until the administration stops playing Russian roulette with the economy and decides to reach across the aisle, however, it will be difficult to do anything but oppose the irresponsible decisions that are being made.”

In a release, Murkowski indicated she will file her disapproval resolution pursuant to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Senators Don Nickles (R-OK) and Harry Reid (D-NV), were the principal sponsors of the CRA, incorporated into the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Upon introduction, a disapproval resolution is referred to the committee of jurisdiction, which in this case will be the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). If the committee does not favorably report the resolution within 20 calendar days, it may be discharged upon petition by 30 Senators. Once a disapproval resolution is placed on the Senate calendar, it is then subject to expedited consideration on the Senate floor, and not subject to filibuster.

Access a release from Senator Murkowski (
click here). Access a video of the Senator's floor speech (click here). Access the full text of the floor speech (click here).