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)
President Obama’s “likely to announce ‘major initiatives’ on energy and climate change in his State of the Union address, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Monday,” The Hill reports.
Kerry, the informal leader of the Senate effort to pass legislation rein in global warming, encouraged the president to announce ambitious efforts on energy and climate on Tuesday, and said he expected Obama to do so.
"I hope that the president tomorrow, in his SOTU address, will embrace major initiatives — I expect him to," Kerry said in reference to energy and climate legislation, on WBUR radio.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “is mulling legislation that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions for one year,” The Hill reports.
The proposal may be more palatable for some on-the-fence lawmakers than the two-year delay proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
But Brown has not yet drafted any legislation and is still reviewing his options, a spokeswoman says. “He is reviewing multiple variations of the Rockefeller bill, such as a one-year delay,” Brown spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak told The Hill. “Most importantly, he wants to address this issue soon to provide certainty to the industries in his state that are planning expansions as the economy recovers.”
In the Capitol “on Thursday, Rockefeller told reporters that he does not believe a one-year delay is adequate.”
He said two years is needed to make enough progress on carbon capture and storage technologies. The technology is considered far away from any widespread commercial adoption, but Rockefeller said even waiting two years before regulating would help.
Legislation imposing a “two-year pause on Environmental Protection Agency regulation of carbon dioxide pollution from smokestacks appeared to be dead for this year as Senator John Rockefeller accused Republicans on Friday of withholding their needed support,” Reuters reports.
"Republican proponents of my bill to suspend EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions have pulled their support for this year — so that they can gain some political advantage trying to take over this issue in 2011," Rockefeller said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Republicans pushed a bill to permanently ban EPA regulation of carbon pollution, but it failed in the Senate. On January 5, Republicans will have more seats in the Senate and take control of the House of Representatives from Democrats. They could again try to pass a permanent prohibition.
On Thursday, Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, said he was attempting to get a vote on his bill this year as Congress considers several measures in the waning days of the legislative session.
In early January, the EPA is scheduled to go ahead with new regulations requiring large factories to start cutting their carbon pollution.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) “said Tuesday that Democratic leadership has promised federal cap-and-trade legislation – which he famously shot with a rifle in a campaign ad – is dead,” the AP reports.
In a teleconference with West Virginia reporters the day after his swearing-in, the former governor said he met with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada on Monday for a "heart-to-heart" about coal and other energy issues.
"I got his commitment that cap-and-trade will definitely not be on the agenda, and won’t be on the agenda during the next Congress," Manchin said. "I have a deep commitment and a personal commitment from him that cap-and-trade is dead."
(credit image – daylife/reuters)