Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “moved Tuesday to force a political showdown over Environmental Protection Agency climate change regulations on the floor of the Senate,” The Hill reports.
McConnell introduced an amendment to a small business bill that would permanently block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants and refineries.
The small business bill McConnell seeks to amend is the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493). It’s currently being debated by the Senate.
Today, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) “dismissed arguments that violent unrest across the Middle East was a main cause of surging oil and gasoline prices, placing the blame instead on plans to curb greenhouse gases,” the AFP reports.
"A lot of people are saying that the gas prices that are going up are a result, partially, of what’s happening over there," said Senator James Inhofe, his party’s senior member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a vocal climate change skeptic. "That isn’t the real problem."
Inhofe said that "the real problem" was Obama’s efforts to enact a cap-and-trade plan to curb emissions of greenhouse gases blamed by scientists for global warming.
"My message today simply is the higher gas prices are simply a product of this administration’s goal," said the lawmaker.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), a “vocal critic of the Environmental Protection Agency, has signed on as a co-sponsor of Republican legislation to permanently block the agency’s climate rules,” The Hill reports.
The addition of Manchin, who is up for re-election in 2012, as a co-sponsor means that the authors of the bill have been able to get at least some Democratic support in both the House and the Senate. Forty-three Senate Republicans sponsored the bill.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has introduced the Energy Tax Prevention Act (S. 482) today, according to a press release. The release describes this bill as stopping the “Obama EPA’s back-door cap-and-trade regulations from taking effect.”
It leaves “all of the essential provisions of the Clean Air Act intact, ensuring that Americans will be protected from pollution that has direct public health impacts.”
The Hill notes that this bill “strips the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, a move that escalates the GOP’s broader assault on the agency’s climate-change agenda.”
EPA has begun phasing in initial greenhouse-gas permitting requirements for large new and modified pollution sources, and is planning to craft other regulations, including specific emissions standards for power plants and refineries.
The legislation “would not kill the current joint EPA-Transportation Department rules on auto mileage and tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions that cover model years 2012-2016, but it would prevent subsequent EPA regulation of greenhouse emissions from cars, according to Inhofe’s office.”
It will “likely clear the House, but would be unlikely to advance in the Senate.”
The bill could provide, however, political running room for less-aggressive proposals that would delay regulation without stripping EPA’s authority outright.
Inhofe is Ranking Member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) “plans to introduce legislation Monday to preempt the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to regulate carbon emissions,” the Daily Caller reports.
It is the latest move by congressional Republicans who view the agency’s rules as a backdoor attempt to implement a cap and trade system.
“Barrasso’s bill stops this backdoor attempt to enact Obama’s cap-and-trade agenda through EPA and the rest of the federal bureaucracy,” said Barrasso spokesperson Emily Lawrimore. “The Barrasso bill restates and reaffirms the will of Congress as the sole authority over federal climate change policy.”
The bill, however, will go beyond just blocking the EPA. It will stop all federal agencies from implementing new energy taxes that could have a negative effect on employment and energy costs.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) also “worked on crafting the legislation with Barrasso.” He is Ranking Member on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Update (1/31): According to an official release announcing the bill’s introduction today, it also “precludes legal action against sources of greenhouse gasses solely based on their possible contribution to climate change.”
- Regulations for mobile sources such as cars and trucks will continue, but those regulations will now be managed by the Department of Transportation, not EPA.
- Any greenhouse gas that is a direct threat to human health because of direct exposure to that gas could still be regulated, just not solely based on climate change. This provision would ensure that polluters of health threatening gasses would still be held accountable under the law.
It does not “preempt states from enacting greenhouse gas or climate change mandates.” Text of the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act can be found here.
Current co-sponsors of this bill include the following members:
- Roy Blunt (R-MO)
- Mike Enzi (R-WY)
- Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
- Jerry Moran (R-KS)
- Pat Roberts (R-KS)
- John Thune (R-SD)
- David Vitter (R-LA)