By Libby Casey
Senator Lisa Murkowski and a dozen other Republican lawmakers in Washington gathered before reporters yesterday to preview her plan to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gasses.
Murkowski is introducing a “disapproval resolution” that would strip the E-P-A of its power to regulate carbon dioxide. It will be debated and voted on Thursday on the Senate floor.
Even if Murkowski’s plan gains traction in Congress, the Obama Administration said that the President’s senior advisors will recommend he veto it. It says Murkowski’s plan would undermine the Clean Air Act.
But Murkowski says the E-P-A intends to take control of climate policy.
What you are seeing here by the EPA, truly reaching into the legislative area and setting policy, policy that we as elected members representing our respective constituencies across the country, setting policy is the wrong approach and one that should be pushed back. And I think the vote you will see on Thursday is one that speaks directly to that administrative overreach.
The E-P-A’s finding that greenhouse gasses endanger public health and welfare allows it to make rules curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Defenders of the Obama Administration point out that it was the Supreme Court that required the E-P-A to decide whether carbon dioxide is a threat to human health.
When asked at her press conference, Murkowski didn’t say whether she thought the courts had also over-extended their reach into the work of Congress.
So far Murkowski’s resolution has the support of 40 other Senators, including 3 Democrats. It needs 51 votes to pass.
Alaska’s Democrat Mark Begich is one of the Senators whose stance is being watched. But today he said Murkowski’s resolution is not the way he’d choose to go.
The merits of us doing the more comprehensive approach, I agree with her on that, she thinks maybe EPA is going too far in regulatory process. I don’t disagree with that. I just have a different approach, I want a comprehensive energy plan.
Begich says while Congress should have the final role in setting policies regulating greenhouse gasses, it should be as part of a larger energy and climate change bill.
This body has sat around for decades. They talk about it, they do special interest legislation it seems every year to take care of their friends, while American people are continuing to import oil from countries that don’t like us. We spend billions overseas which we shouldn’t be doing, so my view is after a year and a half of being here, sometimes you’ve got to keep things bubbling in order to get this body to get off their butt and do things.
Other Democrats say the E-P-A is not moving quickly to implement regulations surrounding greenhouse gas emissions and so the concern is overblown.
E-P-A head Lisa Jackson wrote a blistering response to Murkowski’s resolution in yesterday’s Huffington Post. She said it would increase America’s oil dependence, and said the B-P oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a reminder of the hazards of America’s oil addiction.
Murkowski responded today by saying the Administration had reached a “new low” by invoking the BP Blowout in the debate over her resolution.