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News & Press: Policy News

Democrats Join Murkowski’s Effort To Block EPA Climate Rules

Thursday, January 21, 2010  
Posted by: Angelin Barrios
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Jan. 21, 2010 – 12:37 p.m.

By Coral Davenport, CQ Staff

Republican Lisa Murkowski picked up three Democratic cosponsors for a resolution of disapproval unveiled Thursday that would block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under clean air laws.

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., a moderate who faces an uphill fight for reelection in November, was one of those signing on as a cosponsor, along with Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb.

"I am very concerned about the burden that EPA regulation of carbon emissions could put on our economy and I have questions about the actual benefit EPA regulations would have on our environment,” Lincoln said in a statement. "Heavy-handed EPA regulation, as well as the current cap and trade bills in Congress, will cost jobs and put as at an even greater competitive disadvantage to China, India and others.”

Murkowski, of Alaska, is the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She listed 35 Republicans in addition to the three Democrats on the resolution to block the EPA from acting to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The resolution, which is immune from Senate filibuster, needs only 51 votes to pass the Senate.
Even if it passed, it would have little chance of overcoming a presidential veto and becoming law. But a resolution that garnered enough Democratic support to pass the Senate could be a fatal blow to President Obama’s efforts to enact a cap-and-trade climate bill this year.

In December, the EPA issued a finding that greenhouse gases qualify as dangerous pollutant under the Clean Air Act (PL 101-549), triggering a requirement that the agency begin moving to regulate carbon emissions as early as March.

The EPA finding was a response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision that found greenhouse gases are pollutants and directed the agency to determine if they threaten the public.

Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson have said repeatedly that they would rather see global warming gases regulated through legislation. The administration has tried to use the threat of EPA regulation to prod reluctant senators to act.

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