Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coal states try to block EPA on greenhouse gases

As the Environmental Protection Agency moves to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, several states are trying to block those efforts. At least 25 legislators in 17 states have introduced measures aimed at halting or limiting EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Robin Bravender of Environment & Energy Daily reports. Five of the bills came from Democrats, and at least seven such measures have been adopted. Legislators in Illinois, Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah have "passed measures encouraging Congress to step in and block EPA climate rules or for the agency to halt its regulatory plans," Bravender writes, and lawmakers in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington and West Virginia are considering similar resolutions.

"I believe that Congress should adopt legislation if we're going to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources," Illinois state Rep. Dan Reitz, a Democrat and former coal miner whose bill passed the House, told Bravender. "We should be able to do that within the context of a bill and not do it within the regulatory measures that are out there right now."

The other side: "Under the Clean Air Act, they've been given the right to do that," Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz, who filed a motion to reconsider Reitz' resolution after it passed, told Bravender. "States don't need to upset all that pre-existing law." Glen Andersen, a program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures, points out that states that rely heavily on coal are more likely to adopt resolutions to block EPA. "I think it's partially just states seeing the potential costs based on what their [fuel] mix is," he told Bravender. E&E also includes a breakdown of each of the 25 bills before state legislatures. (Read more, subscription required)

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