Murkowski Seeks to Thwart EPA Emission Regulations (Again)

| Tue Jan. 5, 2010 5:21 PM EST

The Environmental Protection Agency signaled last month that it intends to move forward on regulating greenhouse gas emissions, in the absence of a new law governing the planet-warming gases. But if Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski gets her way, the EPA won't get very far.

The ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee wants to tack an amendment onto unrelated legislation dealing with the statutory limit on the public debt that would curb the EPA's ability to regulate emissions. The move comes after the agency last month finalized their finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health, a necessary first step to moving forward on regulations.

Murkowski has been among the most active opponents of EPA regulation of greenhouse gases of late, despite stating repeatedly that she does want to see action taken to cut emissions. "I remain committed to reducing emissions through a policy that will protect our environment and strengthen our economy, but EPA's backdoor climate regulations achieve neither of those goals," Murkowski said last month. "EPA regulation must be taken off the table so that we can focus on more responsible approaches to dealing with global climate change."

Murkowski's measure is expected to go up for a formal vote on Jan. 20. Murkowski made a similar move last September, but was not successful. That particular measure was to have been added to an appropriations bill, and would have called for a year-long "time out" on EPA action regulating stationary sources of emissions, like power plants, manufacturers, and refineries. It would have blocked work on regulations at the agency by prohibiting the use of any agency funds for that purpose, though the EPA would have been allowed to move forward on regulations of emissions from automobiles and other mobile sources.

Murkowski's spokesperson said yesterday that there has not yet been a decision on whether to offer the same amendment, or something similar. At this point, all her office can say is that it will deal in some way with EPA regulation of emissions.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.