Friday, February 26, 2010

Reps Question Power Association Position On Endangerment Finding

Feb 25: House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Environment and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to Mark Crisson, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA), regarding the association's letter urging Senators to overturn U.S. EPA's scientific finding on greenhouse gases (i.e. the endangerment finding). In the letter, the chairmen express concern that APPA appears to be "actively misinforming its members" and request clarification regarding the association's position.
    The chairmen said, "This scientific finding is supported by an overwhelming amount of scientific research that has been produced, reviewed,and validated over a period of decades. Numerous APPA members have informed us over the last 24 hours that they do not support APPA's position."
    They continue, ". . .when APPA informed its members that the association had taken a position on SJ. Res. 26, the Murkowski resolution [See WIMS 1/22/10], APPA stated that whether the resolution would prevent EPA from issuing tailpipe standards for automobiles 'remains a point of debate between the lawyers.' APPA's staff knows this is not the case. . ." The chairmen then referred to EPA Administrator Jackson's February 22, 2010, letter to Senator Rockefeller where she stated that, "One result [of the Murkowski resolution] "would be to prevent EPA from issuing its greenhouse gas standard for light-duty vehicles." [See WIMS 2/23/10].
    Waxman and Markey request APPA to "clarify what exactly" their position is on EPA's endangerment finding; and to indicate weather the association  opposes "the regulation of carbon pollution from automobiles? If so, why?" Finally, they say, "we request that you update your members with accurate information that explains the effect that S.J. Res. 26 would have, if enacted, upon EPA's pending greenhouse gas standard for light-duty vehicles."
    However, the Chief Counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a February 19 letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) regarding the "Potential Impact of Murkowski Resolution on NHTSA's CAFE Rulemaking" that, "As a strictly legal matter, the Murkowski Resolution does not directly impact NHTSA's independent statutory authority to set fuel economy standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended. . .  However, passage of the Murkowski Amendment would have profoundly adverse effects on the national economy, national environmental and energy security objectives, and the economically distressed automobile manufacturing industry. While NHTSA's promulgation of independent, stand alone CAFE standards would make important contributions, its standards could not avoid those adverse effects."
    U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has released several statements regarding EPA's response to Senator Rockefeller and her disapproval resolution (SJ. Res. 26) recently. She said the announcement that EPA will adopt greenhouse gas regulations this spring, but delay implementation regarding stationary sources until January "is a small forced step in the right direction," but, she said, "the Clean Air Act continues to be the wrong tool for the job, and EPA's timeline continues to create significant and ongoing uncertainty for a business community. Congress is the appropriate body to address climate policy. Until the specter of command-and-control regulations goes away, it will remain a counterproductive threat hanging over the work that must be done to find common ground. The EPA has restated its commitment to regulating greenhouse gases, down to the smallest emitters, regardless of the economic consequences."   
    Access the complete letter from Representatives Waxman and Markey (click here). Access releases from Senator Murkowski (click here); (click here); and (click here). Access the letter from NHTSA (click here). Access legislative details for SJ. Res. 26 (click here).