More Dems Join EPA Block

Two House Democrats are joining the assault on the coming greenhouse gas regulations from the EPA. On Thursday, Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Armed Services Chair Ike Skelton (D) introduced a resolution to overturn the agency’s finding that emissions threaten human health. Missouri Republican Jo Ann Emerson is cosponsoring the legislation.

Their measure mirrors the Senate attack on EPA regulations from Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is using a resolution of disapproval–an obscure procedural maneuver to overturn agency regulations–to block the agency’s scientific conclusion that planet-warming gases endanger humans. The House trio introduced a separate piece of legislation earlier this month to amend the Clean Air Act, but has now synched its efforts with those in the Senate. Murkowski’s measure has 40 cosponsors, including Democrats Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

The EPA’s finding has triggered the regulation of gases, with rule for automobiles expected next month and major stationary sources like power plants coming in April. With Senate debate on a carbon cap stalled out, the EPA rules are seen as the last hope for regulating emissions this year.

In announcing the House resolution, Skelton challenged whether the EPA has the authority to regulate emissions, and the Supreme Court’s decision that yes, they in fact do have that authority. He also argues that the House should drop it’s own plan to regulate emissions, which he voted for last June. He said that he hopes the House “will set aside cap and trade in favor of a more scaled back bipartisan bill.” In the meantime, said Skelton, the disapproval resolution will “keep EPA from threatening Congress with its own greenhouse gas policy as we write legislation.”

Peterson, who has also reversed his position on the House bill after wringing a litany of incentives for Big Ag out of the measure last summer, said the disapproval resolution will prevent the EPA from imposing “unwarranted regulations on all of us.”

Murkowski cheered the House resolution in a statement on Friday, calling it evidence of the bipartisanship. “The Administration has urged members of Congress to work together and across party lines,” she said. “This action adds to the evidence that we are doing just that, and we do not want EPA imposing economically-harmful climate regulations.”

Somehow, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the kind of bipartisan action the Obama team has in mind.


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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.