Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Monday said she would file a disapproval resolution to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) under the Clean Air Act.

If filed, the resolution would go before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). If Boxer did not act on the resolution within 20 days, it could be brought to the full Senate with 30 signatures. Once a disapproval resolution is placed on the Senate calendar, it is then subject to expedited consideration on the Senate floor, and it cannot be filibustered.

Murkowski’s announcement comes in the wake of the agency’s recent endangerment finding, which found that GHGs threaten public health and welfare. It could be years before EPA regulations take effect. The White House has said it would prefer that Congress write the guidelines, but if Congress does not act, the agency’s rules could set the standard for greenhouse gas emissions on the part of large emitters such as power plants, factories, and other stationary sources of pollution.

The senator, a proponent of a carbon tax, said that EPA regulation of GHGs could endanger future economic growth. "The EPA has taken these actions despite the fact that Congress is continuing to work on climate legislation. I find that highly counter-productive, especially as our nation struggles to regain its economic footing," she said.

"The endangerment finding must be stopped so that Congress can pass responsible legislation that is sound on its own merits, and not merely a defense against the threat of damaging regulations."

The senator’s plan isn’t the only congressional action seeking to block EPA regulation of GHGs. Last week, House and Senate staffers working on an omnibus spending bill blocked an amendment from Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas). Tiahrt’s amendment had proposed to halt funding in the bill for Clean Air Act regulations based on the EPA’s finding.

The omnibus measure, which has been passed by the House, includes $2 billion for programs that focus on climate change research; over half of the money would go to NASA and the National Academy of Sciences for space-based climate measurements. The appropriations bill also includes funding for an audit of the tax code to identify provisions that have the largest effects on GHG emissions.

Source: Sen. Lisa Murkowski