Friday, January 22, 2010

3 Dems Support Murkowski Resolution To Block EPA GHG Regs

Jan 21: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), introduced a bipartisan disapproval resolution to stop U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. Murkowski’s resolution -- co-sponsored by 35 Republicans and three Democrats -- comes in the wake of the EPA’s recent endangerment finding, which will result in damaging new regulations that endanger America’s economy. Murkowski announced her intention to file the disapproval resolution on December 14, 2009 [See WIMS 12/15/10], in the wake of the EPA's endangerment finding which 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]. On the actual introduction, she said, “As the EPA moves closer and closer to issuing these regulations, I continue to believe that this command-and-control approach is our worst option for reducing the emissions blamed for climate change.”

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a strong proponent of moving the nation toward a cleaner energy future, said the disapproval resolution is necessary to avoid the “economic train wreck” that would result from the EPA regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. She said, “Our bipartisan resolution deals with an incredibly important question: whether or not members of this body are comfortable with the actions EPA will take under its current interpretation of the Clean Air Act. I’m not comfortable with those actions, and neither are the senators who have already agreed to add their names to this effort. The Clean Air Act was written by Congress to regulate criteria pollutants, not greenhouse gases, and its implementation remains subject to oversight and guidance from elected representatives. We should continue our work to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation, but in the meantime, we cannot turn a blind eye to the EPA’s efforts to impose back-door climate regulations with no input from Congress.”

Murkowski said EPA regulation could force businesses being to cut jobs or close their doors for good; severely restrict domestic energy production, increasing our dependence on foreign suppliers and threatening our national security; make Housing less affordable; and consumer goods more expensive. Murkowski commented saying, “If you truly believe that EPA climate regulations are good for the country, then vote to oppose our resolution. But if you share our concerns, and believe that climate policy should be debated in Congress, then vote with us to support it.”

Murkowski filed her disapproval resolution pursuant to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). 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), Chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). If the committee does not favorably report the resolution, 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 and only needs a majority to pass. However, the resolution would have to be approved in the House which is unlikely.

On January 11, 2010, all of the Members of the Democratic Caucus on the EPW Committee announced they had joined together to oppose the proposal by Senator Murkowski to overturn U.S. EPA's global warming endangerment finding. They issued a "Dear Colleague" letter urging Members to oppose the proposal [See WIMS 1/12/10]. However, Senator Murkowski has enough Senate votes to discharge the resolution from the EPW Committee. Complicating the issue for Democrats in the Senate, is the fact that three of their own ranks have cosponsored the resolutions -- i.e. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

On the House side, Democratic Representative Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota announced the introduction of H.R. 4396, the Save Our Energy Jobs Act, which he said would prohibit U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gases [See WIMS 1/11/10]. In a release he indicated, "This action, if not prevented, could dramatically increase energy rates as well as end up costing North Dakota jobs."

Access a release from Sen. Murkowski (click here). Access the 7-page, full text of the Sen. Murkowski's floor speech on the disapproval resolution (click here). Access legislative details for S. Joint Resolution 26 (click here).