Friday, January 22, 2010

Proposal to prevent EPA from limiting greenhouse gases filed; chances slim but could be a barometer

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a resolution Thursday that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from taking any action to regulate carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases. The proposal would use the Congressional Review Act to strip EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gases awarded by a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, John M. Broder of The New York Times reports.

"Her resolution requires a majority vote in the Senate, a remote possibility because of the strong opposition of the Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, and most other Democrats," Broder writes. "It faces even longer odds in the House. And then it would require the signature of President Obama, who is all but certain to veto it because it would rob him of a critical regulatory tool." Murkowski has near unanimous support from Republicans as well as Democrats Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. But it may reveal increased resistance to passing a climate-change bill.

Murkowski told reporters EPA regulation would lead businesses to close or move overseas, domestic energy production to be curtailed, housing to become more expensive and agricultural costs to rise. An aide to Reid told Broder that all agreed Congressional regulation of greenhouse gases would be better than EPA action, but so far Republicans have been unwilling to work toward that goal. (Read more)

As an alternative to the House-passed climate bill, "Republicans and Democrats alike expressed interest in a 'Plan B' approach from Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) for capping emissions," reports ClimateWire (subscription-only). "The plan would return the majority of the revenue raised from a climate program to consumers through a dividend."

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