Senator Rockefeller was joined by Senate Democrats Mark Begich (AK), Sherrod Brown (OH), Carl Levin (MI), Bob Casey Jr. (PA), Robert Byrd (WV), Claire McCaskill (MO), and Max Baucus (MT) in sending the letter, demanding a response to their concerns for the workers and industries affected in their states. Senator Rockefeller said, "At a time when so many people are hurting, we need to put the decisions about our energy future in to the hands of the people and their elected representatives -- especially on issues impacting clean coal. EPA actions in this area would have enormous implications and these issues need to be handled carefully and appropriately dealt with by the Congress, not in isolation by a federal environmental agency." Senator Rockefeller indicated that he is drafting legislation to suspend EPA's regulatory authority to allow sufficient time for Congressional consideration of the nation's larger energy policy and economic needs.
The letter begins, "We write with serious economic and energy concerns relating to the potential regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. Ill-time or imprudent regulation of GHGs may squander critical opportunities for our nation, impeding the investment necessary to create jobs and position our nation to develop and produce its own clean energy. We need a clear understanding of how you view your agency's responsibilities and the processes by which you intend to carry them out in order to represent the workers, industries, taxpayers, and economic interests or our states. . ."
"(3) EPA is also considering a modification to the rule announced in September requiring large facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year to obtain permits demonstrating they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize GHG emissions. EPA is considering raising that threshold substantially to reflect input provided during the public comment process. (4) EPA does not intend to subject smaller facilities to Clean Air Act permitting for greenhouse gas emissions any sooner than 2016."