EPA Facing Opposition to GHG Regulation on Multiple Fronts

The past week brought a flurry of news from across the nation about challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) measures to curb greenhouse gases (GHGs). Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) are spearheading separate measures to delay or block the EPA’s authority, and Arizona withdrew its support for the EPA in a massive legal challenge concerning its “endangerment finding.”

Sen. Rockefeller and Six Other Dems Introduce Bill to Delay EPA’s GHG Regs
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and six other Democrats on Monday introduced a bill to suspend EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources by two years. The lawmakers said the measure, “EPA Stationary Source Regulations Suspension Act,” would give Congress enough time to consider a comprehensive energy bill and to develop clean coal technologies.

“We can address emissions and secure a future for the U.S. coal industry, but we need the time to get it right and to move clean coal technology forward,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

Rockefeller had last year tried to get a vote in the Senate for a similar bill. On Monday, he was joined Senators Jim Webb (D-Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) in introducing legislation to suspend EPA regulation of GHGs from stationary sources for two years.

Sen. Barrasso Introduces Bill to Block All EPA GHG Regs
Also on Monday, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill to permanently block the EPA from taking action to regulate GHGs.

The bill proposes to overturn the agency’s so-called “Endangerment Finding” that GHGs are harmful to public health and environment, and it would preempt any action by the EPA to limit GHG emissions without a green light from Congress. The bill would also make it illegal to use federal laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act to curb climate change.

“It’s time for the administration to face the facts: Americans rejected cap and trade because they know it means higher energy prices and lost jobs,” Sen. Barrasso said in a statement. “Washington agencies are now trying a backdoor approach to regulate our climate by abusing existing laws.”

Sen. Inhofe to Unveil Bill to Strip EPA’s Authority on GHG Regs
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) are expected to unveil a bill that will strip the EPA of its authority to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other stationary sources. The measure is expected to move easily through House committees and will likely pass the House, analysts say.

Inhofe also co-sponsored the similar bill introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Monday (see previous section).

Ariz. Withdraws Support for Endangerment Finding Case
Arizona last week withdrew from a coalition of 20 states that supported the EPA’s “endangerment finding” in a legal case. The state had taken the Obama administration’s side while former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) was in office. 

Current Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (R) filed the request in the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia. The request was later approved.

Sources: POWERnews, Sens. Jay Rockefeller and James Inhofe, U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia

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